Optimal masks for solar g-mode detection

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The detection of gravity (g) modes of solar oscillations is important for probing the physical conditions in the Sun's energy-generating core. We have developed a new method of spatial masks optimized to reveal solar g-modes of angular degree l = 1-3 and applied it to Michelson Doppler Imager data in the frequency range of 50-500 μHz. These masks take into account the horizontal component of g-mode velocity eigenfunctions and the variations in the level of noise across the solar disk and adjust for the time-dependent mode projection properties caused by the inclination of the Sun's axis of rotation. They allow us to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio in the oscillation power spectra for potential g-modes of various angular order and degree. The peaks in the resulting spectra are analyzed in terms of their instrumental origin, long-term stability, and correspondence to the theoretically predicted g-mode spectrum. As a consequence of failing to detect any g-mode candidates, new upper limits for the surface amplitude of g-modes are obtained. The lowest upper limits in the range of 5-6 mm s-1 are found for sectorial g-modes (l = m). These limits are an order of magnitude higher than the theoretical prediction of Kumar et al. in 1996.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1199-1203
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - May 10 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: helioseismology
  • Sun: oscillations


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