Vol 22, No 8

Length Scale of Photospheric Granules in Solar Active Regions

Yan-Xiao Liu, Chao-Wei Jiang, Ding Yuan, Ping-Bing Zuo, and Wen-Da Cao


Investigating the length scales of granules could help understand the dynamics of granules in the photosphere. In this work, we detected and identified granules in an active region near disk center observed at wavelength of TiO (7057 Å) by the 1.6 m Goode Solar Telescope (GST). By a detailed analysis of the size distribution and flatness of granules, we found a critical size that divides the granules in motions into two regimes: convection and turbulence. The length scales of granules with sizes larger than 600 km follow Gauss function and demonstrate “flat” in flatness, which reveal that these granules are dominated by convection. Those with sizes smaller than 600 km follow power-law function and behave power-law tendency in flatness, which indicate that the small granules are dominated by turbulence. Hence, for the granules in active regions, they are originally convective in large length scale, and directly become turbulent once their sizes turn to small, likely below the critical size of 600 km. Comparing with the granules in quiet regions, they evolve with the absence of the mixing motions of convection and turbulence. Such a difference is probably caused by the interaction between fluid motions and strong magnetic fields in active regions. The strong magnetic fields make high magnetic pressure which creates pressure walls and slows down the evolution of convective granules. Such walls cause convective granules extending to smaller sizes on one hand, and cause wide intergranular lanes on the other hand. The small granules isolated in such wide intergranular lanes are continually sheared, rotated by strong downflows in surroundings and hereby become turbulent.


Sun: granulation – Sun: photosphere – Sun: faculae – plages

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