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Spot cycle reconstruction: an empirical tool. Application to the sunspot cycle

A. R. G. Santos, M. S. Cunha, P. P. Avelino, T. L. Campante

Context. The increasing interest in understanding stellar magnetic activity cycles is a strong motivation for the development of parameterized starspot models which can be constrained observationally.
In this work we develop an empirical tool for the stochastic reconstruction of sunspot cycles, using the average solar properties as a reference.
The synthetic sunspot cycle is compared with the sunspot data extracted from the National Geophysical Data Center, in particular using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. This tool yields synthetic spot group records, including date, area, latitude, longitude, rotation rate of the solar surface at the group’s latitude, and an identification number.
Comparison of the stochastic reconstructions with the daily sunspot records confirms that our empirical model is able to successfully reproduce the main properties of the solar sunspot cycle. As a by-product of this work, we show that the Gnevyshev-Waldmeier rule, which describes the spots’ area-lifetime relation, is not adequate for small groups and we propose an effective correction to that relation which leads to a closer agreement between the synthetic sunspot cycle and the observations.

Sun: activity, Sun: oscillations, stars: activity, stars: oscillations, sunspots, starspots

Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume 580, Page A62
August 2015

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Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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