• Sun: faculae, plages;
  • Sun: granulation;
  • Sun: helioseismology;
  • Sun: oscillations


The integrated brightness of the Sun shows variability on time-scales from minutes to decades. This variability is mainly caused by pressure mode oscillations, by granulation and by dark spots and bright faculae on the surface of the Sun. By analysing the frequency spectrum of the integrated brightness, we can obtain greater knowledge about these phenomena. It is shown how the frequency spectrum of the integrated brightness of the Sun in the frequency range from 100 to 3200 μHz shows clear signs of granulation, faculae and p-mode oscillations, and that the measured characteristic time-scales and amplitudes of the acoustic signals from granulation and faculae are consistent with high-resolution observations of the solar surface. Using 13 years of observations of the Sun’s integrated brightness from the Variability of solar IRadiance and Gravity Oscillations (VIRGO) instrument on-board the SOHO satellite, it is shown that the significance of the facular component varies with time and that it has a significance above 0.99 around half the time. Furthermore, an analysis of the temporal variability in the measured amplitudes of the granulation, faculae and p-mode oscillation components in the frequency spectrum reveals that the amplitude of the p-mode oscillation component shows variability that follows the solar cycles, while the amplitudes of the granulation and facular components show signs of quasi-annual and quasi-biennial variabilities, respectively.