Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 August 2011
When consulting detailed photospheric catalogs for solar activity studies spanning long time intervals, solar physicists face multiple limitations in the existing catalogs: finite or fragmented time coverage, limited time overlap between catalogs and even more importantly, a mismatch in contents and conventions. In view of a study of new sunspot-based activity indices, we have conducted a comprehensive survey of existing catalogs.
In a first approach, we illustrate how the information from parallel catalogs can be merged to form a much more comprehensive record of sunspot groups. For this, we use the unique Debrecen Photoheliographic Data (DPD), which is already a composite of several ground observatories and SOHO data, and the USAF/Mount Wilson catalog from the Solar Optical Observing Network (SOON). We also describe our semi-interactive cross-identification method, which was needed to match the non-overlapping solar active region nomenclature, the most critical and subtle step when working with multiple catalogs. This effort, focused here first on the last two solar cycles, should lead to a better central database collecting all available sunspot group parameters to address future solar cycle studies beyond the traditional sunspot index time series Ri.
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