Volume 457, Number 2, October II 2006
|Page(s)||665 - 674|
|Published online||12 September 2006|
Magnetic confinement of the solar tachocline
DSM/DAPNIA/Service d'Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France; and AIM, UMR 7158, CEA - CNRS - Université Paris 7, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 LUTH, UMR 8102, Observatoire de Paris, 92195 Meudon, France e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 26 March 2006
Context.We study the physics of the solar tachocline (i.e. the thin transition layer between differential rotation in the convection zone and quasi uniform rotation in the radiative interior), and related MHD instabilities.
Aims.We have performed 3D MHD simulations of the solar radiative interior to check whether a fossil magnetic field is able to prevent the spread of the tachocline.
Methods.Starting with a purely poloidal magnetic field and a latitudinal shear meant to be imposed by the convection zone at the top of the radiation zone, we have investigated the interactions between magnetic fields, rotation and shear, using the spectral code ASH on massively parallel supercomputers.
Results.In all cases we have explored, the fossil field diffuses outward and ends up connecting with the convection zone, whose differential rotation is then imprinted at latitudes above ≈ throughout the radiative interior, according to Ferraro's law of isorotation. Rotation remains uniform in the lower latitude region which is contained within closed field lines. We find that the meridional flow cannot stop the inward progression of the differential rotation. Further, we observe the development of non-axisymmetric magnetohydrodynamic instabilities, first due to the initial poloidal configuration of the fossil field, and later to the toroidal field produced by shearing the poloidal field through the differential rotation. We do not find dynamo action as such in the radiative interior, since the mean poloidal field is not regenerated. But the instability persists during the whole evolution, while slowly decaying with the mean poloidal field; it is probably sustained by small departures from isorotation.
Conclusions.According to our numerical simulations, a fossil magnetic field cannot prevent the radiative spread of the tachocline, and thus it is unable to enforce uniform rotation in the radiation zone. Neither can the observed thinness of that layer be invoked as a proof for such an internal fossil magnetic field.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / turbulence / Sun: rotation / stars: evolution / stars: rotation
© ESO, 2006
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