Combining Linear Polarization Measurements of both Forbidden/Permitted Coronal Emission Lines for measuring the Vector Magnetic Field in the Solar Corona

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 2:13 PM
Gabriel Ionel Dima, Jeff R. Kuhn and Don Mickey, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Institute for Astronomy, Honolulu, HI, United States
Measuring the coronal vector magnetic field is still a major challenge in solar physics. This is due to the intrinsic weakness of the field (~4 G at a height of 0.1 Rsun above an active region) and the large thermal broadening of coronal emission lines. Current methods deduce either the direction of the magnetic field or the magnetic flux density. We propose using concurrent linear polarization measurements in the near IR of forbidden and permitted lines to calculate the coronal vector magnetic field. The effect of the magnetic field on the polarization properties of emitted light is encapsulated in the Hanle effect. In the unsaturated Hanle regime both the direction and strength of the magnetic field affect the linear polarization, while for saturated Hanle the polarization is insensitive to the strength of the field. Coronal forbidden lines are always in the saturated Hanle regime so the linear polarization holds no information on the strength of the field. By pairing measurements of both forbidden and permitted lines we would be able to obtain both the direction and strength of the field. The near-IR region of the spectrum offers the opportunity to study this problem from the ground. The FeXIII 1.075 um and SiX 1.431 um forbidden lines are strongly polarizable and are sufficiently bright over a large field of view (out to 1.5 Rsun). Measurements of both these lines can be paired up with the recently observed coronal HeI 1.083 um permitted line. The first data set used to test this technique was taken during the March 29, 2006 total solar eclipse and consisted of near-IR spectra covering the spectral region 0.9-1.8 um, with a field of view of 3 x 3 Rsun. The data revealed unexpectedly strong SiX emission compared to FeXIII. Using the HAO FORWARD suite of codes we produced simulated emission maps from a global HMD model for the day of the eclipse. Comparing the intensity variation of the measurements and the model we predict that SiX emission is more extended for this day that the model would suggest, further supporting the possible usefulness of SiX polarimetry. The development of this method and associated tools will be critical in interpreting the high spectral, spatial and temporal IR measurements that will be possible when the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) is completed in a few years time.