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Towards a Wave Theory Interpretation of Time-Distance Helioseismology Data

  • A. C. Birch (a1) and A. G. Kosovichev (a2)

Abstract

Time-distance helioseismology, which measures the time for acoustic waves to travel between points on the solar surface, has been used to study small-scale three-dimensional features in the sun, for example active regions, as well as large-scale features, such as meridional flow, that are not accessible by standard global helioseismology. Traditionally, travel times have been interpreted using geometrical ray theory, which is not always a good approximation. In order to develop a wave interpretation of time-distance data we employ the first Born approximation, which takes into account finite-wavelength effects and is expected to provide more accurate inversion results. In the Born approximation, in contrast with ray theory, travel times are sensitive to perturbations to sound speed which are located off the ray path. In an example calculation of travel time perturbations due to sound speed perturbations that are functions only of depth, we see that that the Born and ray approximations agree when applied to perturbations with large spatial scale and that the ray approximation fails when applied to perturbations with small spatial scale.

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References

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Towards a Wave Theory Interpretation of Time-Distance Helioseismology Data

  • A. C. Birch (a1) and A. G. Kosovichev (a2)

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