Software tool for automatic detection of solar plages in the Coimbra Observatory spectroheliograms

Teresa Barata, S. Carvalho, I. Dorotovič, A. Garcia, J. Fernandes, Ana M. Lourenço

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Full-disk spectroheliograms have been taken in Coimbra on a daily basis since 1926 in the Ca II K-line (K1 and K3). Later, in 1989, with the upgrade of the equipment it was possible to start the observations in the H-alpha line. The spectroheliograms of Coimbra constitutes a huge dataset of solar images, which requires an efficient automatic tool to detect and analyze solar activity features. This work presents a mathematical morphology approach applied to the CaII K3 series. The objective is to create a tool based on the segmentation by watershed transform combined with other morphological operators to detect automatically and analyze chromospheric plages during the solar cycle 24. The tool is validated by comparing its results for cycle 23 with those presented by Dorotovic et al. (2007, 2010). The results obtained are in very good agreement with those, including on images obtained in non-ideal meteorological conditions (eg. some clouds in sky). The results were also qualitatively compared with the results obtained through the application of ASSA model to SDO HMI magnetograms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-83
Number of pages14
JournalAstronomy and Computing
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Automatic detection
  • Coimbra observatory
  • Mathematical morphology
  • Plages
  • Sun


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