Three-dimensional simulations of near-surface convection in main-sequence stars
IV. Effect of small-scale magnetic flux concentrations on centre-to-limb variation and spectral lines⋆
1 Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
2 Institut für Astrophysik, Universität Göttingen, Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Received: 12 February 2015
Accepted: 20 April 2015
Context. Magnetic fields affect the local structure of the photosphere of stars. They can considerably influence the radiative properties near the optical surface, flow velocities, and the temperature and pressure profiles. This has an impact on observables such as limb darkening and spectral line profiles.
Aims. We aim at understanding qualitatively the influence of small magnetic flux concentrations in unipolar plage regions on the centre-to-limb variation of the intensity and its contrast and on the shape of spectral line profiles in cool main-sequence stars.
Methods. We analyse the bolometric and continuum intensity and its angular dependence of 24 radiative magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the near-surface layers of main-sequence stars with six different sets of stellar parameters (spectral types F to early M) and four different average magnetic field strengths (including the non-magnetic case). We also calculated disc-integrated profiles of three spectral lines.
Results. The small magnetic flux concentrations formed in the magnetic runs of simulations have a considerable impact on the intensity and its centre-to-limb variation. In some cases, the difference in limb darkening between magnetic and non-magnetic runs is larger than the difference between the spectral types. Spectral lines are not only broadened owing to the Zeeman effect, but are also strongly affected by the modified thermodynamical structure and flow patterns. This indirect magnetic impact on the line profiles is often bigger than that of the Zeeman effect.
Conclusions. The effects of the magnetic field on the radiation leaving the star can be considerable and is not restricted to spectral line broadening and polarisation by the Zeeman effect. The inhomogeneous structure of the magnetic field on small length scales and its impact on (and spatial correlation with) the local thermodynamical structure and the flow field near the surface influence the measurement of the global field properties and stellar parameters. These effects need to be taken into account in the interpretation of observations.
Key words: magnetic fields / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / radiative transfer / stars: magnetic field / stars: low-mass / line: profiles
Appendix A is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2015