AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 4. Helioseismology and the Solar Interior
Display, Monday, June 3, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, SW Exhibit Hall

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[4.15] Supergranule Rotation Rates and Lifetimes

D. H. Hathaway (NASA/MSFC)

Previous measurements of the rotation rate of the supergranule Doppler pattern have revealed three interesting characteristics. 1) The supergranule pattern rotates faster than the plasma at the surface and, at each latitude, it rotates faster than the plasma at any level below the surface. 2) Larger cells rotate more rapidly than smaller cells. 3) Faster rotation rates are found when using larger time lags between Doppler images. These last two characteristics are consistent with the idea that large cells live longer and extend deeper into the Sun where the rotation rate is faster. A re-examination of the rotation rates and lifetimes of the Doppler patterns seen with the MDI instrument on SOHO confirms these characteristics. However, a simulation of the data using a spectrum for the cellular flows that matches the observed spectrum shows that these characteristics can be largely reproduced by cellular patterns that rotate at the same rate without any dependence upon cell size. The rotation rate, and its dependence on latitude, is nonetheless still faster than the surface or internal rotation rate. The difference in rotation rates as functions of cell size and time lag between observations is attributed to projection effects on the line-of-sight Doppler signal. This data simulation is also used to determine characteristic lifetimes for the cellular patterns as a function of cell size. These lifetime determinations are also affected by projection effects on the line-of-sight Doppler signal.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.