Volume 641, September 2020
|Number of page(s)||23|
|Published online||01 September 2020|
Interplay between magnetic fields and differential rotation in a stably stratified stellar radiative zone
Université de Toulouse, CNRS, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, 14 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
Accepted: 11 June 2020
Context. The interactions between magnetic fields and differential rotation in stellar radiative interiors could play a major role in achieving an understanding of the magnetism of intermediate-mass and massive stars and of the differential rotation profile observed in red-giant stars.
Aims. The present study is aimed at studying the flow and field produced by a stellar radiative zone which is initially made to rotate differentially in the presence of a large-scale poloidal magnetic field threading the whole domain. We focus both on the axisymmetric configurations produced by the initial winding-up of the magnetic field lines and on the possible instabilities of those configurations. We investigate in detail the effects of the stable stratification and thermal diffusion and we aim, in particular, to assess the role of the stratification at stabilising the system.
Methods. We performed 2D and 3D global Boussinesq numerical simulations started from an initial radial or cylindrical differential rotation and a large-scale poloidal magnetic field. Under the conditions of a large rotation frequency compared to the Alfvén frequency, we built a magnetic configuration strongly dominated by its toroidal component. We then perturbed this configuration to observe the development of non-axisymmetric instabilities.
Results. The parameters of the simulations were chosen to respect the ordering of time scales of a typical stellar radiative zone. In this framework, the axisymmetric evolution is studied by varying the relative effects of the thermal diffusion, the Brunt-Väisälä frequency, the rotation, and the initial poloidal field strength. After a transient time and using a suitable adimensionalisation, we find that the axisymmetric state only depends on tes/tAp the ratio between the Eddington–Sweet circulation time scale and the Alfvén time scale. A scale analysis of the Boussinesq magnetohydrodynamical equations allows us to recover this result. In the cylindrical case, a magneto-rotational instability develops when the thermal diffusivity is sufficiently high to enable the favored wavenumbers to be insensitive to the effects of the stable stratification. In the radial case, the magneto-rotational instability is driven by the latitudinal shear created by the back-reaction of the Lorentz force on the flow. Increasing the level of stratification then leaves the growth rate of the instability mainly unaffected while its horizontal length scale grows.
Conclusions. Non-axisymmetric instabilities are likely to exist in stellar radiative zones despite the stable stratification. They could be at the origin of the magnetic dichotomy observed in intermediate-mass and massive stars. They are also unavoidable candidates for the transport of angular momentum in red giant stars.
Key words: instabilities / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / methods: numerical / stars: magnetic field / stars: rotation / stars: interiors
© L. Jouve et al. 2020
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