Detection of Travel Time Anisotropy from Subsurface Horizontal Magnetic Fields

John T. Stefan, Alexander G. Kosovichev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A time-distance measurement technique is derived to isolate phase travel time anisotropy caused by subsurface horizontal magnetic fields; a method that uses the measured anisotropy to estimate the field's orientation is also derived. A simulation of acoustic waves propagating in a uniform, inclined magnetic field with solar background structure is used to verify the derived technique. Then the procedure is applied to a numerical simulation of a sunspot for which the subsurface state is known to provide context for the results obtained from the study of several sunspots observed by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager. Significant anisotropies are detected, on the order of 1 minute, and the subsurface field's azimuth is estimated and compared with the azimuth of the surface magnetic field. In all cases, the subsurface azimuth is found to be well aligned with that of the surface, and the results from the numerical simulation are used to interpret features in the detected travel time anisotropy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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