How rare are counter Evershed flows?

J. S. Castellanos Durán*, A. Lagg, S. K. Solanki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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One of the main characteristics of sunspot penumbrae is the radially outward-directed Evershed flow. Only recently have penumbral regions been reported with similar characteristics to normal penumbral filaments but with an opposite direction of the flow. Such flows directed toward the umbra are known as counter Evershed flows (CEFs). We aim to determine the occurrence frequency of CEFs in active regions (ARs) and to characterize their lifetime and the prevailing conditions in the ARs. We analyzed the continuum images, Dopplergrams, and magnetograms recorded by SDO/HMI of 97 ARs that appeared from 2011 to 2017. We followed the ARs for 9.6†±â€ 1.4 days on average. We found 384 CEFs in total, with a median value of six CEFs per AR. Counter Evershed flows are a rather common feature, occurring in 83.5% of all ARs regardless of the magnetic complexity of the AR. However, CEFs were only observed, on average, during 5.9% of the mean total duration of all the observations analyzed here. The lifetime of CEFs follows a log-normal distribution with a median value of 10.6-6.0+12.4 h. In addition, we report two populations of CEFs, those that are associated with light bridges and those that are not. We explain that the rarity of reports of CEFs in the literature is a result of highly incomplete coverage of ARs with spectropolarimetric data. By using the continuous observations now routinely available from space, we are able to overcome this limitation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Number of pages38
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Sun: photosphere
  • Sunspots


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