Early Results from SOLIS


SOLIS (Synoptic Optical Long-Term Investigations of the Sun) is a project that is replacing antiquated synoptic observing equipment at the National Solar Observatory. SOLIS consists of a suite of three instruments on an equatorial mount that will be installed on Kitt Peak in April 2004. The major SOLIS instrument is a vector spectromagnetograph (VSM) that maps magnetic fields across the full solar disk using a slit spectrograph and one arc sec pixels. Limited daily observations started at a temporary site in August, 2003 and include line-of-sight component magnetograms in the photosphere and chromosphere and, for the first time, full-disk vector magnetograms. At a medium scan speed ( ensuremath∼ 10 minutes for the full disk) noise is less than 1 Mx/cm$^2$. This low noise, combined with negligible instrumental polarization and well resolved spectral line profiles, yields moderate resolution magnetograms of unprecedented quality. Observations show magnetic flux nearly everywhere in the photosphere from the disk center to the solar limb. Weak, intranetwork fields are now routinely observed and show a tendency to be of opposite polarity to the stronger surrounding fields. Diffuse fields surround decaying active regions and appear to be distinct from canopy fields. Vector magnetograms easily show the radial orientation of network fields, and the diffuse component surrounding decaying active regions. Near the disk center, the transverse magnetic fields of network elements change on a time scale of minutes. Detailed quantitative calibration of the observations is in progress. Good results have been obtained from the other SOLIS instruments: a full-disk filter imager at several narrow wavelengths and a double-pass grating spectrograph that provides high-accuracy line spectra of integrated sunlight. SOLIS data are freely available via the Internet and users are invited to submit observing time requests for special observations. The National Solar Observatory is operated by AURA, Inc. under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. Additional support for the development of SOLIS from NASA and ONR is gratefully acknowledged.

American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #204