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Development of structure in pores and sunspots: flows around axisymmetric magnetic flux tubes

By N.E. Hurlburt and A.M. Rucklidge


Flux elements, pores and sunspots form a family of magnetic features observed at the solar surface. As a first step towards developing a fully nonlinear model of the structure of these features and of the dynamics of their interaction with solar convection, we conduct numerical experiments on idealised axisymmetric flux tubes in a compressible convecting atmosphere in cylindrical boxes of radius up to eight times their depth. We find that the magnetic field strength of the flux tubes is roughly independent of both distance from the centre and the total flux content of the flux tube, but that the angle of inclination from the vertical of the field at the edge of the tube increases with flux content. In all our calculations, fluid motion converges on the flux tube at the surface. The results compare favourably with observations of pores; in contrast, large sunspots lie at the centre of an out-flowing moat cell. We conjecture that there is an inflow hidden beneath the penumbrae of large spots, and that this inflow is responsible for the remarkable longevity of such features. \u

Year: 2000
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