Asteroseismic inversions for radial differential rotation of Sun-like stars: Sensitivity to uncertainties

H. Schunker, J. Schou, W. H. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Aims. We quantify the effect of observational spectroscopic and asteroseismic uncertainties on regularised least squares (RLS) inversions for the radial differential rotation of Sun-like and subgiant stars.
Methods. We first solved the forward problem to model rotational splittings plus the observed uncertainties for models of a Sun-like star, HD 52265, and a subgiant star, KIC 7341231. We randomly perturbed the parameters of the stellar models within the uncertainties of the spectroscopic and asteroseismic constraints and used these perturbed stellar models to compute rotational splittings. We experimented with three rotation profiles: solid body rotation, a step function, and a smooth rotation profile decreasing with radius. We then solved the inverse problem to infer the radial differential rotation profile using a RLS inversion and kernels from the best-fit stellar model. We also compared RLS, optimally localised average (OLA) and direct functional fitting inversion techniques.
Results. We found that the inversions for Sun-like stars with solar-like radial differential rotation profiles are insensitive to the uncertainties in the stellar models. The uncertainties in the splittings dominate the uncertainties in the inversions and solid body rotation is not excluded. We found that when the rotation rate below the convection zone is increased to six times that of the surface rotation rate the inferred rotation profile excluded solid body rotation. We showed that when we reduced the uncertainties in the splittings by a factor of about 100, the inversion is sensitive to the uncertainties in the stellar model. With the current observational uncertainties, we found that inversions of subgiant stars are sensitive to the uncertainties in the stellar model.
Conclusions. Our findings suggest that inversions for the radial differential rotation of subgiant stars would benefit from more tightly constrained stellar models. We conclude that current observational uncertainties make it difficult to infer radially resolved features of the rotation profile in a Sun-like star using inversions with regularisation. In Sun-like stars, the insensitivity of the inversions to stellar model uncertainties suggests that it may be possible to perform ensemble inversions for the average radial differential rotation of many stars with a range of stellar types to better constrain the inversions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A24
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Early online date21 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • stars: rotation
  • stars: solar-type
  • asteroseismology


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