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Leenaarts J.,University of Oslo | Leenaarts J.,University Utrecht | Pereira T.,NASA | Pereira T.,Lockheed Martin | Uitenbroek H.,NSO Sacramento Peak
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2012

Aims. Radiative transfer modeling of spectral lines including partial redistribution (PRD) effects requires the evaluation of the ratio of the emission to the absorption profile. This quantity requires a large amount of computational work if one employs the angle-dependent redistribution function, which prohibits its use in 3D radiative transfer computations with model atmospheres containing velocity fields. We aim to provide a method to compute the emission to absorption profile ratio that requires less computational work but retains the effect of angle-dependent scattering in the resulting line profiles. Methods. We present a method to compute the profile ratio that employs the angle-averaged redistribution function and wavelength transforms to and from the rest frame of the scattering particles. We compare the emergent line profiles of the Mg II k and Lyα lines computed with angle-dependent PRD, angle-averaged PRD and our new method in two representative test atmospheres. Results. The new method yields a good approximation of true angle-dependent profile ratio and the resulting emergent line profiles while keeping the computational speed and simplicity of angle-averaged PRD theory. © 2012 ESO.


Leenaarts J.,University of Oslo | Pereira T.M.D.,University of Oslo | Pereira T.M.D.,NASA | Pereira T.M.D.,Lockheed Martin | And 4 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2013

NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) small explorer mission will study how the solar atmosphere is energized. IRIS contains an imaging spectrograph that covers the Mg II h&k lines as well as a slit-jaw imager centered at Mg II k. Understanding the observations requires forward modeling of Mg II h&k line formation from three-dimensional (3D) radiation- magnetohydrodynamic (RMHD) models. This paper is the second in a series where we undertake this modeling. We compute the vertically emergent h&k intensity from a snapshot of a dynamic 3D RMHD model of the solar atmosphere, and investigate which diagnostic information about the atmosphere is contained in the synthetic line profiles. We find that the Doppler shift of the central line depression correlates strongly with the vertical velocity at optical depth unity, which is typically located less than 200 km below the transition region (TR). By combining the Doppler shifts of the h and k lines we can retrieve the sign of the velocity gradient just below the TR. The intensity in the central line depression is anti-correlated with the formation height, especially in subfields of a few square Mm. This intensity could thus be used to measure the spatial variation of the height of the TR. The intensity in the line-core emission peaks correlates with the temperature at its formation height, especially for strong emission peaks. The peaks can thus be exploited as a temperature diagnostic. The wavelength difference between the blue and red peaks provides a diagnostic of the velocity gradients in the upper chromosphere. The intensity ratio of the blue and red peaks correlates strongly with the average velocity in the upper chromosphere. We conclude that the Mg II h&k lines are excellent probes of the very upper chromosphere just below the TR, a height regime that is impossible to probe with other spectral lines. They also provide decent temperature and velocity diagnostics of the middle chromosphere. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Leenaarts J.,University of Oslo | Pereira T.M.D.,University of Oslo | Pereira T.M.D.,NASA | Pereira T.M.D.,Lockheed Martin | And 4 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2013

NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) space mission will study how the solar atmosphere is energized. IRIS contains an imaging spectrograph that covers the Mg II h&k lines as well as a slit-jaw imager centered at Mg II k. Understanding the observations will require forward modeling of Mg II h&k line formation from three-dimensional (3D) radiation-MHD models. This paper is the first in a series where we undertake this forward modeling. We discuss the atomic physics pertinent to h&k line formation, present a quintessential model atom that can be used in radiative transfer computations, and discuss the effect of partial redistribution (PRD) and 3D radiative transfer on the emergent line profiles. We conclude that Mg II h&k can be modeled accurately with a four-level plus continuum Mg II model atom. Ideally radiative transfer computations should be done in 3D including PRD effects. In practice this is currently not possible. A reasonable compromise is to use one-dimensional PRD computations to model the line profile up to and including the central emission peaks, and use 3D transfer assuming complete redistribution to model the central depression. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Pereira T.M.D.,University of Oslo | Pereira T.M.D.,NASA | Pereira T.M.D.,Lockheed Martin | Leenaarts J.,University of Oslo | And 4 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2013

The Mg II h&k lines are the prime chromospheric diagnostics of NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS). In the previous papers of this series, we used a realistic three-dimensional radiative magnetohydrodynamics model to calculate the h&k lines in detail and investigated how their spectral features relate to the underlying atmosphere. In this work, we employ the same approach to investigate how the h&k diagnostics fare when taking into account the finite resolution of IRIS and different noise levels. In addition, we investigate the diagnostic potential of several other photospheric lines and near-continuum regions present in the near-ultraviolet (NUV) window of IRIS and study the formation of the NUV slit-jaw images. We find that the instrumental resolution of IRIS has a small effect on the quality of the h&k diagnostics; the relations between the spectral features and atmospheric properties are mostly unchanged. The peak separation is the most affected diagnostic, but mainly due to limitations of the simulation. The effects of noise start to be noticeable at a signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of 20, but we show that with noise filtering one can obtain reliable diagnostics at least down to a S/N of 5. The many photospheric lines present in the NUV window provide velocity information for at least eight distinct photospheric heights. Using line-free regions in the h&k far wings, we derive good estimates of photospheric temperature for at least three heights. Both of these diagnostics, in particular the latter, can be obtained even at S/Ns as low as 5. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..

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