MEASUREMENT OF KODAIKANAL WHITE-LIGHT IMAGES: V. Tilt-Angle and Size Variations OF Sunspot Groups


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Abstract

We examine here the variations of tilt angle and polarity separation (as defined in this paper) of multi-spot sunspot groups from the Kodaikanal and Mount Wilson data sets covering many decades. We confirm the tilt-angle change vs tilt-angle result found earlier from the Mount Wilson data alone. Sunspot groups tend on average to rotate their axes toward the average tilt angle. We point out that if we separate groups into those with tilt angles greater than and less than the average value, they show tilt-angle variations that vary systematically with the growth or decay rates of the groups. This result emphasizes again the finding that growing (presumably younger) sunspot groups rotate their magnetic axes more rapidly than do decaying (presumably older) groups. The tilt-angle variation as a function of tilt angle differs for those groups whose leading spots have greater area than their following spots and vice versa. Tilt-angle changes and polarity separation changes show a clear relationship, which has the correct direction and magnitude predicted by the Coriolis force, and this strongly suggests that the Coriolis force is largely responsible for the axial tilts observed in sunspot groups. The distribution of polarity separations shows a double peak. These peaks are perhaps related to super- and meso-granulation dimensions. Groups with polarity separations less than 43 Mm expand on average, while those groups with separations more than this value contract on average. We present evidence that the rotation of the magnetic axes of sunspot groups is about a location closer to the following than to the leading sunspots.

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