A New MHD-assisted Stokes Inversion Technique

T. L. Riethmüller, S. K. Solanki, P. Barthol, A. Gandorfer, L. Gizon, J. Hirzberger, M. Van Noort, J. Blanco Rodríguez, J. C.Del Toro Iniesta, D. Orozco Suárez, W. Schmidt, V. Martínez Pillet, M. Knölker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a new method of Stokes inversion of spectropolarimetric data and evaluate it by taking the example of a Sunrise/IMaX observation. An archive of synthetic Stokes profiles is obtained by the spectral synthesis of state-of-the-art magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations and a realistic degradation to the level of the observed data. The definition of a merit function allows the archive to be searched for the synthetic Stokes profiles that best match the observed profiles. In contrast to traditional Stokes inversion codes, which solve the Unno-Rachkovsky equations for the polarized radiative transfer numerically and fit the Stokes profiles iteratively, the new technique provides the full set of atmospheric parameters. This gives us the ability to start an MHD simulation that takes the inversion result as an initial condition. After a relaxation process of half an hour solar time we obtain physically consistent MHD data sets with a target similar to the observation. The new MHD simulation is used to repeat the method in a second iteration, which further improves the match between observation and simulation, resulting in a factor of 2.2 lower mean X2 value. One advantage of the new technique is that it provides the physical parameters on a geometrical height scale. It constitutes a first step toward inversions that give results consistent with the MHD equations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2017


  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Sun: photosphere
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • techniques: polarimetric
  • techniques: spectroscopic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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