Magnetically controlled stellar differential rotation near the transition from solar to anti-solar profiles

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Abstract

Context. Late-type stars rotate differentially owing to anisotropic turbulence in their outer convection zones. The rotation is called solar-like (SL) when the equator rotates fastest and anti-solar (AS) otherwise. Hydrodynamic simulations show a transition from SL to AS rotation as the influence of rotation on convection is reduced, but the opposite transition occurs at a different point in the parameter space. The system is bistable, i.e., SL and AS rotation profiles can both be stable.

Aims. We study the effect of a dynamo-generated magnetic field on the large-scale flows, particularly on the possibility of bistable behaviour of differential rotation.

Methods. We solve the hydromagnetic equations numerically in a rotating spherical shell that typically covers ± 75° latitude (wedge geometry) for a set of different radiative conductivities controlling the relative importance of convection. We analyse the resulting differential rotation, meridional circulation, and magnetic field and compare the corresponding modifications of the Reynolds and Maxwell stresses.

Results. In agreement with earlier findings, our models display SL rotation profiles when the rotational influence on convection is strong and a transition to AS when the rotational influence decreases. We find that dynamo-generated magnetic fields help to produce SL differential rotation compared to the hydrodynamic simulations. We do not observe any bistable states of differential rotation. In the AS cases we find coherent single-cell meridional circulation, whereas in SL cases we find multi-cellular patterns. In both cases, we obtain poleward circulation near the surface with a magnitude close to that observed in the Sun. In the slowly rotating cases, we find activity cycles, but no clear polarity reversals, whereas in the more rapidly rotating cases irregular variations are obtained. Moreover, both differential rotation and meridional circulation have significant temporal variations that are similar in strength to those of the Sun.

Conclusions. Purely hydrodynamic simulations of differential rotation and meridional circulation are shown to be of limited relevance as magnetic fields, self-consistently generated by dynamo action, significantly affect the flows.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA26
Number of pages17
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Volume576
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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