Interpreting helioseismic structure inversion results of solar active regions

Chia Hsien Lin, Sarbani Basu, Linghuai Li

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8 Scopus citations


Helioseismic techniques such as ring-diagram analysis have often been used to determine the subsurface structural differences between solar active and quiet regions. Results obtained by inverting the frequency differences between the regions are usually interpreted as the sound-speed differences between them. These in turn are used as a measure of temperature and magnetic-field strength differences between the two regions. In this paper we first show that the "sound-speed" difference obtained from inversions is actually a combination of sound-speed difference and a magnetic component. Hence, the inversion result is not directly related to the thermal structure. Next, using solar models that include magnetic fields, we develop a formulation to use the inversion results to infer the differences in the magnetic and thermal structures between active and quiet regions. We then apply our technique to existing structure inversion results for different pairs of active and quiet regions. We find that the effect of magnetic fields is strongest in a shallow region above 0.985R and that the strengths of magnetic-field effects at the surface and in the deeper (r<0.98R ) layers are inversely related (i.e., the stronger the surface magnetic field the smaller the magnetic effects in the deeper layers, and vice versa). We also find that the magnetic effects in the deeper layers are the strongest in the quiet regions, consistent with the fact that these are basically regions with weakest magnetic fields at the surface. Because the quiet regions were selected to precede or follow their companion active regions, the results could have implications about the evolution of magnetic fields under active regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-60
Number of pages24
JournalSolar Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Sun: active regions
  • Sun: interior
  • Sun: local helioseismology
  • Sun: magnetic fields


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