A new look at sunspot formation using theory and observations Academic Article uri icon


  • Sunspots are of basic interest in the study of the Sun. Their relevance ranges from them being an activity indicator of magnetic fields to being the place where coronal mass ejections and flares erupt. They are therefore also an important ingredient of space weather. Their formation, however, is still an unresolved problem in solar physics. Observations utilize just 2D surface information near the spot, but it is debatable how to infer deep structures and properties from local helioseismology. For a long time, it was believed that flux tubes rising from the bottom of the convection zone are the origin of the bipolar sunspot structure seen on the solar surface. However, this theory has been challenged, in particular recently by new surface observation, helioseismic inversions, and numerical models of convective dynamos. In this article we discuss another theoretical approach to the formation of sunspots: the …

publication date

  • October 1, 2016