The influence of the magnetic field on running penumbral waves in the solar chromosphere

David Jess, V Reznikova, Tom Van Doorsselaere, Duncan Hendry Mackay, Peter Keys

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61 Citations (Scopus)


We use images of high spatial and temporal resolution, obtained using both ground- and space-based instrumentation, to investigate the role magnetic field inclination angles play in the propagation characteristics of running penumbral waves in the solar chromosphere. Analysis of a near-circular sunspot, close to the center of the solar disk, reveals a smooth rise in oscillatory period as a function of distance from the umbral barycenter. However, in one directional quadrant, corresponding to the north direction, a pronounced kink in the period-distance diagram is found. Utilizing a combination of the inversion of magnetic Stokes vectors and force-free field extrapolations, we attribute this behavior to the cut-off frequency imposed by the magnetic field geometry in this location. A rapid, localized inclination of the magnetic field lines in the north direction results in a faster increase in the dominant periodicity due to an accelerated reduction in the cut-off frequency. For the first time, we reveal how the spatial distribution of dominant wave periods, obtained with one of the highest resolution solar instruments currently available, directly reflects the magnetic geometry of the underlying sunspot, thus opening up a wealth of possibilities in future magnetohydrodynamic seismology studies. In addition, the intrinsic relationships we find between the underlying magnetic field geometries connecting the photosphere to the chromosphere, and the characteristics of running penumbral waves observed in the upper chromosphere, directly supports the interpretation that running penumbral wave phenomena are the chromospheric signature of upwardly propagating magneto-acoustic waves generated in the photosphere.
Original languageEnglish
Article number168
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2013


  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • Methods: numerical
  • Sun: atmosphere
  • Sun: chromosphere
  • Sun: oscillations
  • Sun: photosphere


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