Articles | Volume 26, issue 2
26 Feb 2008
 | 26 Feb 2008

Automatic detection and tracking of filaments for a solar feature database

J. Aboudarham, I. Scholl, N. Fuller, M. Fouesneau, M. Galametz, F. Gonon, A. Maire, and Y. Leroy

Abstract. A new method for the automatic detection and tracking of solar filaments is presented. The method addresses the problems facing existing catalogs, such as the one developed recently in the frame of the European Grid of Solar Observations (EGSO) project. In particular, it takes into account the structural and temporal evolution of filaments, differences in intensity as seen from one observation to the next, and the possibility of sudden disappearance followed by reappearance. In this study, the problem of tracking is solved by plotting all detected filaments during each solar rotation on a Carrington map and then by applying region growing techniques on those plots. Using this approach, the "fixed" positions of the envelopes in the Carrington system can be deduced. This is followed by a backward tracking of each filament by considering one full solar rotation. The resulting shifted Carrington map then enables one to follow any filament from one rotation to the next. Such maps should prove valuable for studies of the role of filaments in solar activity, notably coronal mass ejections (CMEs).