Solar stereoscopy – where are we and what developments do we require to progress ?


Observations from the two STEREO-spacecraft give us for the first time the possibility to use stereoscopic methods to reconstruct the 3-D solar corona. Classical stereoscopy works best for solid objects with clear edges. Consequently an application of classical stereoscopic methods to the faint structures visible in the optically thin coronal plasma is by no means straight forward and several problems have to be treated adequately: 1) First there is the problem of identifying one-dimensional structures – e.g. active region coronal loops or polar plumesfrom the two individual EUVimages observed with STEREO/EUVI. 2) As a next step one has the association problem to find corresponding structures in both images. This becomes more difficult as the angle between STEREO-A and B increases. 3) Within the reconstruction problem stereoscopic methods are used to compute the 3-D-geometry of the identified structures. Without any prior assumptions, e.g., regarding the footpoints of coronal loops, the reconstruction problem has not one unique solution. 4) One has to estimate the reconstruction error or accuracy of the reconstructed 3-D-structure, which depends on the accuracy of the identified structures in 2-D, the separation angle between the spacecraft, but also on the location, e.g., for east-west directed coronal loops the reconstruction error is highest close to the loop top. 5) Eventually we are not only interested in the 3-D-geometry of loops or plumes, but also in physical parameters like density, temperature, plasma flow, magnetic field strength etc. Helpful for treating some of these problems are coronal magnetic field models extrapolated from photospheric measurements, because observed EUV-loops outline the magnetic field. This feature has been used for a new method dubbed “magnetic stereoscopy”. As examples we show recent application to active region loops. Correspondence to: T. Wiegelmann (

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@inproceedings{Feng2009SolarS, title={Solar stereoscopy – where are we and what developments do we require to progress ?}, author={Long-Long Feng}, year={2009} }