A Distant Mirror: Solar Oscillations Observed on Neptune by the Kepler K2 Mission

Gaulme, P.; Rowe, J. F.; Bedding, T. R.; Benomar, O.; Corsaro, E.; Davies, G. R.; Hale, S. J.; Howe, R.; Garcia, R. A.; Huber, D.; Jiménez, A.; Mathur, S.; Mosser, B.; Appourchaux, T.; Boumier, P.; Jackiewicz, J.; Leibacher, J.; Schmider, F.-X.; Hammel, H. B.; Lissauer, J. J.; Marley, M. S.; Simon, A. A.; Chaplin, W. J.; Elsworth, Y.; Guzik, J. A.; Murphy, N.; Silva Aguirre, V.
Bibliographical reference

The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 833, Issue 1, article id. L13, 7 pp. (2016).

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Starting in 2014 December, Kepler K 2 observed Neptune continuously for 49 days at a 1 minute cadence. The goals consisted of studying its atmospheric dynamics, detecting its global acoustic oscillations, and those of the Sun, which we report on here. We present the first indirect detection of solar oscillations in intensity measurements. Beyond the remarkable technical performance, it indicates how Kepler would see a star like the Sun. The result from the global asteroseismic approach, which consists of measuring the oscillation frequency at maximum amplitude ν max and the mean frequency separation between mode overtones Δν, is surprising as the ν max measured from Neptune photometry is larger than the accepted value. Compared to the usual reference ν max,⊙ = 3100 μHz, the asteroseismic scaling relations therefore make the solar mass and radius appear larger by 13.8 ± 5.8% and 4.3 ± 1.9%, respectively. The higher ν max is caused by a combination of the value of ν max,⊙, being larger at the time of observations than the usual reference from SOHO/VIRGO/SPM data (3160 ± 10 μHz), and the noise level of the K 2 time series, being 10 times larger than VIRGO’s. The peak-bagging method provides more consistent results: despite a low signal-to-noise ratio (S/N), we model 10 overtones for degrees ℓ = 0, 1, 2. We compare the K 2 data with simultaneous SOHO/VIRGO/SPM photometry and BiSON velocity measurements. The individual frequencies, widths, and amplitudes mostly match those from VIRGO and BiSON within 1σ, except for the few peaks with the lowest S/N.