Realistic modeling of local dynamo processes on the Sun

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Magnetic fields are usually observed in the quiet Sun as small-scale elements that cover the entire solar surface (the "salt-and-pepper" patterns in line-of-sight magnetograms). By using 3D radiative MHD numerical simulations, we find that these fields result from a local dynamo action in the top layers of the convection zone, where extremely weak "seed" magnetic fields (e.g., from a 10-6 G) can locally grow above the mean equipartition field to a stronger than 2000 G field localized in magnetic structures. Our results reveal that the magnetic flux is predominantly generated in regions of small-scale helical downflows. We find that the local dynamo action takes place mostly in a shallow, about 500 km deep, subsurface layer, from which the generated field is transported into the deeper layers by convective downdrafts. We demonstrate that the observed dominance of vertical magnetic fields at the photosphere and horizontal fields above the photosphere can be explained by small-scale magnetic loops produced by the dynamo. Such small-scale loops play an important role in the structure and dynamics of the solar atmosphere and their detection in observations is critical for understanding the local dynamo action on the Sun.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number84
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 10 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Sun: photosphere
  • dynamo
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • methods: numerical
  • turbulence


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