Acoustic wave propagation through solar granulation: Validity of effective-medium theories, coda waves

P. L. Poulier, D. Fournier, L. Gizon, T. L. Duvall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context. The frequencies, lifetimes, and eigenfunctions of solar acoustic waves are affected by turbulent convection, which is random in space and in time. Since the correlation time of solar granulation and the periods of acoustic waves (∼5 min) are similar, the medium in which the waves propagate cannot a priori be assumed to be time independent. Aims. We compare various effective-medium solutions with numerical solutions in order to identify the approximations that can be used in helioseismology. For the sake of simplicity, the medium is one dimensional. Methods. We consider the Keller approximation, the second-order Born approximation, and spatial homogenization to obtain theoretical values for the effective wave speed and attenuation (averaged over the realizations of the medium). Numerically, we computed the first and second statistical moments of the wave field over many thousands of realizations of the medium (finite-amplitude sound-speed perturbations are limited to a 30 Mm band and have a zero mean). Results. The effective wave speed is reduced for both the theories and the simulations. The attenuation of the coherent wave field and the wave speed are best described by the Keller theory. The numerical simulations reveal the presence of coda waves, trailing the ballistic wave packet. These late arrival waves are due to multiple scattering and are easily seen in the second moment of the wave field. Conclusions. We find that the effective wave speed can be calculated, numerically and theoretically, using a single snapshot of the random medium (frozen medium); however, the attenuation is underestimated in the frozen medium compared to the time-dependent medium. Multiple scattering cannot be ignored when modeling acoustic wave propagation through solar granulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA168
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Scattering
  • Sun: granulation
  • Sun: helioseismology
  • Sun: oscillations
  • Waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Acoustic wave propagation through solar granulation: Validity of effective-medium theories, coda waves'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this