Context. Penumbral microjets (PMJs) are short-lived, jet-like objects found in the penumbra of sunspots. They were first discovered in chromospheric lines and have later also been shown to exhibit signals in transition region (TR) lines. Their origin and manner of evolution is not yet settled.
Aims. We perform a comprehensive analysis of PMJs through the use of spectral diagnostics that span from photospheric to TR temperatures to constrain PMJ properties.
Methods We employed high-spatial-resolution Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope observations in the Ca II 8542 Å and H α lines, IRIS slit-jaw images, and IRIS spectral observations in the Mg II h & k lines, the Mg II 2798.75 Å & 2798.82 Å triplet blend, the C II 1334 Å & 1335 Å lines, and the Si IV 1394 Å & 1403 Å lines. We derived a wide range of spectral diagnostics from these and investigated other secondary phenomena associated with PMJs.
Results. We find that PMJs exhibit varying degrees of signal in all of our studied spectral lines. We find low or negligible Doppler velocities and velocity gradients throughout our diagnostics and all layers of the solar atmosphere associated with these. Dark features in the inner wings of H α and Ca II 8542 Å imply that PMJs form along pre-existing fibril structures. We find evidence for upper photospheric heating in a subset of PMJs through emission in the wings of the Mg II triplet lines. There is little evidence for ubiquitous twisting motion in PMJs. There is no marked difference in onset-times for PMJ brightenings in different spectral lines.
Conclusions. PMJs most likely exhibit only very modest mass-motions, contrary to earlier suggestions. We posit that PMJs form at upper photospheric or chromospheric heights at pre-existing fibril structures.