Magneto-convection on the Solar Surface
PHILLIPS LAB HANSCOM AFB MA
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We describe and illustrate the first high-resolution observations of horizontal flows on the solar surface and their relation to magnetic field structure seen in the Suns photosphere. The velocity data were deduced from white-light images obtained by the Solar Optical Universal Polarimeter SOUP instrument flown as part of NASAs Spacelab 2 mission. Solar granules were used as tracers to measure larger-scale, longer-lived flows including mesogranules, supergranules, radial outflows from a sunspot, and streams of length 50-100 Mm, width 5-10 Mm. These flows were compared to a 9-hour time series of the solar magnetic field obtained at the same time at the Big Bear Solar Observatory. The flow field and the magnetic structure agree in remarkable detail. The data suggest strongly that the flow field is a nearly perfect descriptor of the motion and evolution of the magnetic field with the exception of the strongest fields within active regions which are able to inhibit the convection. It should be possible to pinpoint loci of magnetic mixing, twisting, and stress buildup, and thus predict the occurrence of solar flares, coronal heating, and mass ejections.