Kiepenheuer-Institut für Sonnenphysik (KIS) & Istituto Ricerche Solari Locarno (IRSOL)
Natural Sciences (Astrophysics and Astrononmy)
An important discovery achieved with Hinode’s Solar Optical Telescope/Spectro-Polarimeter (SOT/SP) was that in the mean, the magnetic field over wide areas of the quiet Sun photosphere is predominantly horizontal, i.e., parallel to the solar surface. This result, however, remained not undisputed because the transversal Zeeman component is much more affected by photon noise than the longitudinal component. This noise may be the source for a gross overestimate of the horizontal field. The present contribution briefly reviews the status of the debate and proposes a bias-free measurement method. Furthermore, the polarimetric accuracy required for a definitive answer of the quest of the horizontal magnetic field is discussed. A new method for the removal of systematic errors, practiced at IRSOL, is presented.
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