Research ArticleASTRONOMY

Mapping solar magnetic fields from the photosphere to the base of the corona

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Science Advances  19 Feb 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 8, eabe8406
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe8406


Routine ultraviolet imaging of the Sun’s upper atmosphere shows the spectacular manifestation of solar activity; yet, we remain blind to its main driver, the magnetic field. Here, we report unprecedented spectropolarimetric observations of an active region plage and its surrounding enhanced network, showing circular polarization in ultraviolet (Mg ii h & k and Mn i) and visible (Fe i) lines. We infer the longitudinal magnetic field from the photosphere to the very upper chromosphere. At the top of the plage chromosphere, the field strengths reach more than 300 G, strongly correlated with the Mg ii k line core intensity and the electron pressure. This unique mapping shows how the magnetic field couples the different atmospheric layers and reveals the magnetic origin of the heating in the plage chromosphere.

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