Transition from axi- to nonaxisymmetric dynamo modes in spherical convection models of solar-like stars

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Researchers

Research units

  • Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research
  • Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam
  • NORDITA
  • University of Helsinki
  • Stockholm University
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

Abstract

Context. Both dynamo theory and observations of stellar large-scale magnetic fields suggest a change from nearly axisymmetric configurations at solar rotation rates to nonaxisymmetric configurations for rapid rotation. Aims. We seek to understand this transition using numerical simulations. Methods. We use three-dimensional simulations of turbulent magnetohydrodynamic convection in spherical shell wedges and considered rotation rates between 1 and 31 times the solar value. Results. We find a transition from axi- to nonaxisymmetric solutions at around 1.8 times the solar rotation rate. This transition coincides with a change in the rotation profile from antisolar- to solar-like differential rotation with a faster equator and slow poles. In the solar-like rotation regime, the field configuration consists of an axisymmetric oscillatory field accompanied by an m = 1 azimuthal mode (two active longitudes), which also shows temporal variability. At slow (rapid) rotation, the axisymmetric (nonaxisymmetric) mode dominates. The axisymmetric mode produces latitudinal dynamo waves with polarity reversals, while the nonaxisymmetric mode often exhibits a slow drift in the rotating reference frame and the strength of the active longitudes changes cyclically over time between the different hemispheres. In the majority of cases we find retrograde waves, while prograde waves are more often found from observations. Most of the obtained dynamo solutions exhibit cyclic variability either caused by latitudinal or azimuthal dynamo waves. In an activity-period diagram, the cycle lengths normalized by the rotation period form two different populations as a function of rotation rate or magnetic activity level. The slowly rotating axisymmetric population lies close to what in observations is called the inactive branch, where the stars are believed to have solar-like differential rotation, while the rapidly rotating models are close to the superactive branch with a declining cycle to rotation frequency ratio and an increasing rotation rate. Conclusions. We can successfully reproduce the transition from axi- to nonaxisymmetric dynamo solutions for high rotation rates, but high-resolution simulations are required to limit the effect of rotational quenching of convection at rotation rates above 20 times the solar value.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA160
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Volume616
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics, Magnetohydrodynamics – convection – turbulence – Sun, dynamo, rotation, activity

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