Note on travel time shifts due to amplitude modulation in time-distance helioseismology measurements

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Correct interpretation of acoustic travel times measured by time-distance helioseismology is essential to get an accurate understanding of the solar properties that are inferred from them. It has long been observed that sunspots suppress p-mode amplitude, but its implications on travel times have not been fully investigated so far. It has been found in test measurements using a "masking" procedure, in which the solar Doppler signal in a localized quiet region of the Sun is artificially suppressed by a spatial function, and using numerical simulations that the amplitude modulations in combination with the phase-speed filtering may cause systematic shifts of acoustic travel times. To understand the properties of this procedure, we derive an analytical expression for the cross-covariance of a signal that has been modulated locally by a spatial function that has azimuthal symmetry and then filtered by a phase-speed filter typically used in time-distance helioseismology. Comparing this expression to the Gabor wavelet fitting formula without this effect, we find that there is a shift in the travel times that is introduced by the amplitude modulation. The analytical model presented in this paper can be useful also for interpretation of travel time measurements for the non-uniform distribution of oscillation amplitude due to observational effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1475-1481
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: helioseismology
  • Sun: oscillations
  • Sunspots


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