The quest for the solar g modes

T Appourchaux, K Belkacem, Anne-Marie Broomhall, William Chaplin, DO Gough, G Houdek, J Provost, F Baudin, P Boumier, Yvonne Elsworth, RA Garcia, BN Andersen, W Finsterle, C Froehlich, A Gabriel, G Grec, A Jimenez, A Kosovichev, T Sekii, T ToutainS Turck-Chieze

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

79 Citations (Scopus)


Solar gravity modes (or g modes)-oscillations of the solar interior on which buoyancy acts as the restoring force-have the potential to provide unprecedented inference on the structure and dynamics of the solar core, inference that is not possible with the well-observed acoustic modes (or p modes). The relative high amplitude of the g-mode eigenfunctions in the core and the evanesence of the modes in the convection zone make the modes particularly sensitive to the physical and dynamical conditions in the core. Owing to the existence of the convection zone, the g modes have very low amplitudes at photospheric levels, which makes the modes extremely hard to detect. In this article, we review the current state of play regarding attempts to detect g modes. We review the theory of g modes, including theoretical estimation of the g-mode frequencies, amplitudes and damping rates. Then we go on to discuss the techniques that have been used to try to detect g modes. We review results in the literature, and finish by looking to the future, and the potential advances that can be made-from both data and data-analysis perspectives-to give unambiguous detections of individual g modes. The review ends by concluding that, at the time of writing, there is indeed a consensus amongst the authors that there is currently no undisputed detection of solar g modes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-277
Number of pages81
JournalThe Astronomy and Astrophysics Review
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


  • Sun
  • g modes
  • Data analysis
  • Theory


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