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Title: On large-scale dynamos with stable stratification and the application to stellar radiative zones
Abstract Our understanding of large-scale magnetic fields in stellar radiative zones remains fragmented and incomplete. Such magnetic fields, which must be produced by some form of dynamo mechanism, are thought to dominate angular-momentum transport, making them crucial to stellar evolution. A major difficulty is the effect of stable stratification, which generally suppresses dynamo action. We explore the effects of stable stratification on mean-field dynamo theory with a particular focus on a non-helical large-scale dynamo (LSD) mechanism known as the magnetic shear-current effect. We find that the mechanism is robust to increasing stable stratification as long as the original requirements for its operation are met: a source of shear and non-helical magnetic fluctuations (e.g. from a small-scale dynamo). Both are plausibly sourced in the presence of differential rotation. Our idealized direct numerical simulations, supported by mean-field theory, demonstrate the generation of near equipartition large-scale toroidal fields. Additionally, a scan over magnetic Reynolds number shows no change in the growth or saturation of the LSD, providing good numerical evidence of a dynamo mechanism resilient to catastrophic quenching, which has been an issue for helical dynamos. These properties – the absence of catastrophic quenching and robustness to stable stratification – make the mechanism a plausible candidate for generating in situ large-scale magnetic fields in stellar radiative zones.  more » « less
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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range / eLocation ID:
526 to 542
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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