New Era in 3-D Modeling of Convection and Magnetic Dynamos in Stellar Envelopes and Cores
Progress in Solar/Stellar Physics with Helio- and Asteroseismology. Proceedings of a Fujihara Seminar held at Hakone, Japan, 13-17 March, 2011. ASP Conference Proceeding, Vol. 462. Edited by H. Shibahashi, M. Takata, and A.E. Lynas-Gray. San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2012, p.331
Published in Sep 2012
The recent advances in asteroseismology and spectropolarimetry are beginning to provide estimates of differential rotation and magnetic structures for a range of F and G-type stars possessing convective envelopes, and in A-type stars with convective cores. It is essential to complement such observational work with theoretical studies based on 3-D simulations of highly turbulent convection coupled to rotation, shear and magnetic fields in full spherical geometries. We have so employed the anelastic spherical harmonic (ASH) code, which deals with compressible magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) in spherical shells, to examine the manner in which the global-scale convection can establish differential rotation and meridional circulations under current solar rotation rates, and these make good contact with helioseismic findings. For younger G stars rotating 3 to 5 times faster than the current Sun, the convection establishes ever stronger angular velocity contrasts between their fast equators and slow poles, and these are accompanied by prominent latitudinal temperature contrasts as well. Turning to MHD simulation of magnetic dynamo action within these younger G stars, the resulting magnetism involves wreaths of strong toroidal magnetic fields (up to 50 to 100 kG strengths) in the bulk of the convection zone, typically of opposite polarity in the northern and southern hemispheres. These fields can persist for long intervals despite being pummeled by the fast convective downflows, but they can also exhibit field reversals and cycles. Turning to shallower convective envelopes in the more luminous F-type stars that range in mass from 1.2 to 1.4 solar masses and for various rotation rates, we find that the convection can again establish solar-like differential rotation profiles with a fast equator and slow poles, but the opposite is achieved at the slower rotation rates. The F stars are also capable of building strong magnetic fields, often as wreaths, through dynamo action. We also consider dynamo action within the cores of rotating A-type stars, finding that striking super-equipartition magnetic fields can be built there. These families of 3-D simulations are showing that a new era of detailed stellar modeling is becoming feasible through rapid advances in supercomputing, and these have the potential to help interpret and possibly even guide some of the observational efforts now under way.