Mechanism of spontaneous formation of stable magnetic structures on the sun

I. N. Kitiashvili, A. G. Kosovichev, A. A. Wray, N. N. Mansour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


One of the puzzling features of solar magnetism is formation of long-living compact magnetic structures, such as sunspots and pores, in the highly turbulent upper layer of the solar convective zone. We use realistic radiative three-dimensional MHD simulations to investigate the interaction between magnetic field and turbulent convection. In the simulations, a weak vertical uniform magnetic field is imposed in a region of fully developed granular convection, and the total magnetic flux through the top and bottom boundaries is kept constant. The simulation results reveal a process of spontaneous formation of stable magnetic structures, which may be a key to understanding the magnetic self-organization on the Sun and formation of pores and sunspots. This process consists of two basic steps: (1) formation of small-scale filamentary magnetic structures associated with concentrations of vorticity and whirlpool-type motions, and (2) merging of these structures due to the vortex attraction, caused by converging downdrafts around magnetic concentration below the surface. In the resulting large-scale structure maintained by the converging plasmamotions, the magnetic field strength reaches∼1.5 kG at the surface and∼6 kG in the interior, and the surface structure resembles solar pores. The magnetic structure remains stable for the whole simulation run of several hours with no sign of decay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-312
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 10 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Convection
  • Magnetohydrodynamics(MHD)
  • Methods: Numerical
  • Sun: Photosphere
  • Sun: Surface magnetism
  • Sunspots


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