Asymmetry in velocity and intensity helioseismic spectra: A solution to a long-standing puzzle

R. Nlgam, A. G. Kosovichev, P. H. Scherrer, J. Schou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


We give an explanation for the opposite sense of asymmetry of the solar acoustic mode lines in velocity and intensity oscillation power spectra, thereby solving the half-decade-old puzzle of Duvall and coworkers. The solution came after comparing the velocity and intensity oscillation data of medium angular degree / obtained from the Michelson Doppler Imager instrument on board the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory with the theoretical power spectra. We conclude that the solar noise in the velocity and intensity spectra is made up of two components: one is correlated to the source that is responsible for driving the solar p-modes, and the other is an additive uncorrelated background. The correlated component of the noise affects the line profiles. The asymmetry of the intensity spectrum is reversed because the correlated component is of a sufficiently large level, while the asymmetry of the velocity spectrum remains unreversed because the correlated component is smaller. This also explains the high-frequency shift between velocity and intensity at and above the acoustic cutoff frequency. A composite source consisting of a monopole term (mass term) and a dipole term (force due to Reynolds stress) is found to explain the observed spectra when it is located in the zone of superadiabatic convection at a depth of 75 ± 50 km below the photosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L115-L118
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART II
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Convection
  • Sun: interior
  • Sun: oscillations
  • Turbulence


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