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Journal Article

3D Radiative MHD Simulations of Starspots

MPS-Authors

Panja,  Mayukh
Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Cameron,  Robert H.
Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Solanki,  Sami K.
Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Panja, M., Cameron, R. H., & Solanki, S. K. (2020). 3D Radiative MHD Simulations of Starspots. The Astrophysical Journal, 893(2): 113. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab8230.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-9F45-A
Abstract
There are no direct spatially resolved observations of spots on stars other than the Sun, and starspot properties are inferred indirectly through lightcurves and spectropolarimetric data. We present the first self-consistent 3D radiative MHD computations of starspots on G2V, K0V, and M0V stars, which will help us to better understand observations of activity, variability, and magnetic fields in late-type main-sequence stars. We used the MURaM code, which has been extensively used to compute "realistic" sunspots, for our simulations. We aim to study how fundamental starspot properties such as intensity contrast, temperature, and magnetic field strength vary with spectral type. We first simulated in 2D multiple spots of each spectral type to find out appropriate initial conditions for our 3D runs. We find that with increasing stellar effective temperature, there is an increase in the temperature difference between the umbra of the spot and its surrounding photosphere, from 350 K on the M0V star to 1400 K on the G2V star. This trend in our simulated starspots is consistent with observations. The magnetic field strengths of all the starspot umbrae are in the 3–4.5 kG range. The G2V and K0V umbrae have comparable magnetic field strengths around 3.5 kG, while the M0V umbra has a relatively higher field strength around 4 kG. We discuss the physical reasons behind both these trends. All of the three starspots develop penumbral filament-like structures with Evershed flows. The average Evershed flow speed drops from 1.32 km s−1 in the G2V penumbra to 0.6 km s−1 in the M0V penumbra.