Spherical-shell boundaries for two-dimensional compressible convection in a star
1 Astrophysics, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, EX4 4QL Exeter, UK
2 École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, CRAL (UMR CNRS 5574), Université de Lyon 1, 69007 Lyon, France
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl Schwarzschild Strasse 1, 85741 Garching, Germany
Received: 11 February 2016
Accepted: 19 June 2016
Context. Studies of stellar convection typically use a spherical-shell geometry. The radial extent of the shell and the boundary conditions applied are based on the model of the star investigated. We study the impact of different two-dimensional spherical shells on compressible convection. Realistic profiles for density and temperature from an established one-dimensional stellar evolution code are used to produce a model of a large stellar convection zone representative of a young low-mass star, like our sun at 106 years of age.
Aims. We analyze how the radial extent of the spherical shell changes the convective dynamics that result in the deep interior of the young sun model, far from the surface. In the near-surface layers, simple small-scale convection develops from the profiles of temperature and density. A central radiative zone below the convection zone provides a lower boundary on the convection zone. The inclusion of either of these physically distinct layers in the spherical shell can potentially affect the characteristics of deep convection.
Methods. We perform hydrodynamic implicit large eddy simulations of compressible convection using the MUltidimensional Stellar Implicit Code (MUSIC). Because MUSIC has been designed to use realistic stellar models produced from one-dimensional stellar evolution calculations, MUSIC simulations are capable of seamlessly modeling a whole star. Simulations in two-dimensional spherical shells that have different radial extents are performed over tens or even hundreds of convective turnover times, permitting the collection of well-converged statistics.
Results. To measure the impact of the spherical-shell geometry and our treatment of boundaries, we evaluate basic statistics of the convective turnover time, the convective velocity, and the overshooting layer. These quantities are selected for their relevance to one-dimensional stellar evolution calculations, so that our results are focused toward studies exploiting the so-called 321D link. We find that the inclusion in the spherical shell of the boundary between the radiative and convection zones decreases the amplitude of convective velocities in the convection zone. The inclusion of near-surface layers in the spherical shell can increase the amplitude of convective velocities, although the radial structure of the velocity profile established by deep convection is unchanged. The impact of including the near-surface layers depends on the speed and structure of small-scale convection in the near-surface layers. Larger convective velocities in the convection zone result in a commensurate increase in the overshooting layer width and a decrease in the convective turnover time. These results provide support for non-local aspects of convection.
Key words: methods: numerical / convection / stars: interiors / stars: low-mass / stars: evolution
© ESO, 2016