Volume 638, June 2020
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||The Sun and the Heliosphere|
|Published online||04 June 2020|
A distinct magnetic property of the inner penumbral boundary
III. Analysis of simulated sunspots
Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Fričova 298, 25165 Ondřejov, Czech Republic
2 Leibniz-Institut für Sonnenphysik (KIS), Schöneckstr. 6, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
3 High Altitude Observatory, NCAR, PO Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307, USA
Accepted: 7 April 2020
Context. Analyses of sunspot observations revealed a fundamental magnetic property of the umbral boundary: the invariance of the vertical component of the magnetic field.
Aims. We analyse the magnetic properties of the umbra-penumbra boundary in simulated sunspots and thus assess their similarity to observed sunspots. We also aim to investigate the role of the plasma β and the ratio of kinetic to magnetic energy in simulated sunspots in the convective motions because these quantities cannot be reliably determined from observations.
Methods. We used a set of non-gray simulation runs of sunspots with the MURaM code. The setups differed in terms of subsurface magnetic field structure and magnetic field boundary imposed at the top of the simulation domain. These data were used to synthesize the Stokes profiles, which were then degraded to the Hinode spectropolarimeter-like observations. Then, the data were treated like real Hinode observations of a sunspot, and magnetic properties at the umbral boundaries were determined.
Results. Simulations with potential field extrapolation produce a realistic magnetic field configuration on the umbral boundaries of the sunspots. Two simulations with a potential field upper boundary, but different subsurface magnetic field structures, differ significantly in the extent of their penumbrae. Increasing the penumbra width by forcing more horizontal magnetic fields at the upper boundary results in magnetic properties that are not consistent with observations. This implies that the size of the penumbra is given by the subsurface structure of the magnetic field, that is, by the depth and inclination of the magnetopause, which is shaped by the expansion of the sunspot flux rope with height. None of the sunspot simulations is consistent with the observed properties of the magnetic field and the direction of the Evershed flow at the same time. Strong outward-directed Evershed flows are only found in setups with an artificially enhanced horizontal component of the magnetic field at the top boundary that are not consistent with the observed magnetic field properties at the umbra-penumbra boundary. We stress that the photospheric boundary of simulated sunspots is defined by a magnetic field strength of equipartition field value.
Key words: sunspots / Sun: photosphere / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
© ESO 2020
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