Inferring Vector Magnetic Fields from Stokes Profiles of GST/NIRIS Using a Convolutional Neural Network
We propose a new machine-learning approach to Stokes inversion based on a convolutional neural network (CNN) and the Milne-Eddington (ME) method. The Stokes measurements used in this study were taken by the Near InfraRed Imaging Spectropolarimeter (NIRIS) on the 1.6 m Goode Solar Telescope (GST) at the Big Bear Solar Observatory. By learning the latent patterns in the training data prepared by the physics-based ME tool, the proposed CNN method is able to infer vector magnetic fields from the Stokes profiles of GST/NIRIS. Experimental results show that our CNN method produces smoother and cleaner magnetic maps than the widely used ME method. Furthermore, the CNN method is four to six times faster than the ME method and able to produce vector magnetic fields in nearly real time, which is essential to space weather forecasting. Specifically, it takes ∼50 s for the CNN method to process an image of 720 × 720 pixels comprising Stokes profiles of GST/NIRIS. Finally, the CNN-inferred results are highly correlated to the ME-calculated results and closer to the ME's results with the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (PPMCC) being closer to 1, on average, than those from other machine-learning algorithms, such as multiple support vector regression and multilayer perceptrons (MLP). In particular, the CNN method outperforms the current best machine-learning method (MLP) by 2.6%, on average, in PPMCC according to our experimental study. Thus, the proposed physics-assisted deep learning-based CNN tool can be considered as an alternative, efficient method for Stokes inversion for high-resolution polarimetric observations obtained by GST/NIRIS.