Surface manifestation of stochastically excited internal gravity waves

Daniel Lecoanet, Matteo Cantiello, Evan H. Anders, Eliot Quataert, Louis Alexandre Couston, Mathieu Bouffard, Benjamin Favier, Michael Le Bars

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Recent photometric observations of massive stars show ubiquitous low-frequency ‘red noise’ variability, which has been interpreted as internal gravity waves (IGWs). Simulations of IGWs generated by convection show smooth surface wave spectra, qualitatively matching the observed red noise. Theoretical calculations using linear wave theory by Shiode et al. and Lecoanet et al. predict IGWs should manifest at the surface as regularly spaced peaks associated with standing g modes. In light of the apparent discrepancy between these theories and simulations/observations, we test the theories with simplified 2D numerical simulations of wave generation by convection. The simulations agree with the transfer function calculations presented in Lecoanet et al., demonstrating that the transfer function correctly models linear wave propagation. However, there are differences between our simulations and the g-mode amplitude predictions of Shiode et al. This is because that work did not take into account the finite width of the g-mode peaks; after correcting for this finite width, we again find good agreement between theory and simulations. This paper verifies the theoretical approach of Lecoanet et al. and strengthens their conclusion that IGWs generated by core convection do not have a surface manifestation consistent with observed low-frequency variability of massive stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-143
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Asteroseismology
  • Convection
  • Software: simulations
  • Stars: oscillations
  • Waves


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