Three years of Sun-as-a-star radial-velocity observations on the approach to solar minimum.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    • A. Collier Cameron
    • A. Mortier
    • D. Phillips
    • X. Dumusque
    • R. D. Haywood
    • N. Langellier
    • C. A. Watson
    • H. M. Cegla
    • J. Costes
    • D. Charbonneau
    • A. Coffinet
    • D. W. Latham
    • M. Lopez-Morales
    • L. Malavolta
    • J. Maldonado
    • G. Micela
    • T. Milbourne
    • E. Molinari
    • S. H. Saar
    • S. Thompson
    • N. Buchschacher
    • M. Cecconi
    • R. Cosentino
    • A. Ghedina
    • A. Glenday
    • M. Gonzalez
    • C.-H. Li
    • M. Lodi
    • C. Lovis
    • F. Pepe
    • E. Poretti
    • K. Rice
    • D. Sasselov
    • A. Sozzetti
    • A. Szentgyorgyi
    • S. Udry
    • R. Walsworth

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    The time-variable velocity fields of solar-type stars limit the precision of radial-velocity determinations of their planets' masses, obstructing detection of Earth twins. Since 2015 July we have been monitoring disc-integrated sunlight in daytime using a purpose-built solar telescope and fibre feed to the HARPS-N stellar radial-velocity spectrometer. We present and analyse the solar radial-velocity measurements and cross-correlation function (CCF) parameters obtained in the first 3 years of observation, interpreting them in the context of spatially-resolved solar observations. We describe a Bayesian mixture-model approach to automated data-quality monitoring. We provide dynamical and daily differential-extinction corrections to place the radial velocities in the heliocentric reference frame, and the CCF shape parameters in the sidereal frame. We achieve a photon-noise limited radial-velocity precision better than 0.43 m s-1 per 5-minute observation. The day-to-day precision is limited by zero-point calibration uncertainty with an RMS scatter of about 0.4 m s-1. We find significant signals from granulation and solar activity. Within a day, granulation noise dominates, with an amplitude of about 0.4 m s-1 and an autocorrelation half-life of 15 minutes. On longer timescales, activity dominates. Sunspot groups broaden the CCF as they cross the solar disc. Facular regions temporarily reduce the intrinsic asymmetry of the CCF. The radial-velocity increase that accompanies an active-region passage has a typical amplitude of 5 m s-1 and is correlated with the line asymmetry, but leads it by 3 days. Spectral line-shape variability thus shows promise as a proxy for recovering the true radial velocity.



    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Advance Access
    Journal publication date01 May 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2019
    Externally publishedYes

      Research areas

    • techniques: radial velocities, Sun: activity, Sun: faculae, plages, Sun:granulation, sunspots, planets and satellites: detection

    ID: 171651157