Why Solar Magnetic Flux Concentrations Are Bright in Molecular Bands

M. Schüssler, S. Shelyag, S. Berdyugina, A. Vögler, S. K. Solanki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Using realistic ab initio simulations of radiative magnetoconvection, we show that the bright structures in images taken in the "G band," a spectral band dominated by lines of the CH molecule, precisely outline small-scale concentrations of strong magnetic fields on the visible solar surface. The brightening is caused by a depletion of CH molecules in the hot and tenuous magnetic structures, thus confirming the model of radiatively heated magnetic flux concentrations. These results provide a firm basis for observational studies of the evolution and dynamics of the small-scale solar magnetic field derived through "proxy magnetometry" with G-band images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L173-L176
Number of pages4
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date17 Oct 2003
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been supported by the Deutsche Forschungs-gemeinschaft under grant Schu 500-7 in the framework of the priority research program SPP1035. The Max-Planck Institute for Aeronomy and University of Chicago Radiative Magnetohydrodynamics (MURAM) code, on which this work is based, has been developed in cooperation with F. Cattaneo, Th. Emonet, and T. Linde from the University of Chicago. The data from the SST on La Palma have been kindly provided by the Institute for Solar Physics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm.


  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Sun: photosphere


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