A note on saturation seen in the MDI/SOHO magnetograms

Liu, Y., Norton, A.A. , and Scherrer, P.H. (2007) A note on saturation seen in the MDI/SOHO magnetograms. Solar Physics, 241 (1). pp. 185-193.

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A type of saturation is sometimes seen in sunspot umbrae in MDI/SOHO magnetograms. In this paper, we present the underlying cause of such saturation. By using a set of MDI circular polarization filtergrams taken during an MDI line profile campaign observation, we derive the MDI magnetograms using two different approaches: the on-board data processing and the ground data processing, respectively. The algorithms for processing the data are the same, but the former is limited by a 15-bit lookup table. Saturation is clearly seen in the magnetogram from the on-board processing simulation, which is comparable to an observed MDI magnetogram taken one and a half hours before the campaign data. We analyze the saturated pixels and examine the on-board numerical calculation method. We conclude that very low intensity in sunspot umbrae leads to a very low depth of the spectral line that becomes problematic when limited to the 15-bit on-board numerical treatment. This 15-bit on-board treatment of the values is the reason for the saturation seen in sunspot umbrae in the MDI magnetogram. Although it is possible for a different type of saturation to occur when the combination of a strong magnetic field and high velocity moves the spectral line out of the effective sampling range, this saturation is not observed.

Item ID: 9612
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-093X
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2010 22:57
FoR Codes: 02 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020109 Space and Solar Physics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences @ 100%
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