Submerged Sources of Transient Acoustic Emission from Solar Flares

Charles Lindsey, J. C. Buitrago-Casas, Juan Carlos Martínez Oliveros, Douglas Braun, Angel D. Martínez, Valeria Quintero Ortega, Benjamín Calvo-Mozo, Alina Catalina Donea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We report the discovery of ultra-impulsive acoustic emission from a solar flare, emission with a seismic signature that indicates submersion of its source approximately a Mm beneath the photosphere of the active region that hosted the flare. Just over two decades ago V. V. Zharkova and A. G. Kosovichev discovered the first acoustic transient released into the Sun's interior by a solar flare. These acoustic waves, refracted back upward to the solar surface after their release, make conspicuous Doppler ripples spreading outward from the flaring region that tell us a lot about their sources. The mechanism by which these transients are driven has stubbornly eluded our understanding. Some of the source regions, for example, are devoid of secondary Doppler, magnetic, or thermal disturbances in the outer atmosphere of the source regions that would signify the driving agent of an intense seismic transient in the outer atmosphere. In this study, we have applied helioseismic holography, a diagnostic based upon standard wave optics, to reconstruct a 3D image of the sources of acoustic waves emanating from the M9.3-class flare of 2011 July 30. These images contain a source component that is submerged a full Mm beneath the active-region photosphere. The signature of acoustic sources this deep in the solar interior opens new considerations into the physics that must be involved in transient acoustic emission from flares- A nd possibly of flare physics at large. We develop analogies to seismicity remotely triggered by tremors from distant earthquakes, and consider prospects of new insight into the architecture of magnetic flux beneath flaring active regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL9
Number of pages7
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2020


  • solar quakes
  • seismology
  • mechanical waves
  • holography
  • ray theory

Cite this