AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 89. Solar Internal Structure and Dynamics
Oral, Thursday, June 6, 2002, 2:00-3:30pm, Mesilla

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[89.01D] On the absence of sunspots at high solar latitudes and associated constraints on the meridional flow in the solar interior

D. Nandy (I.I.Sc., Bangalore, and M.S.U., Bozeman.), A.R. Choudhuri (I.I.Sc., Bangalore.)

Sunspots Ė dark magnetic regions Ė occur at low latitudes on the Sunís surface and are believed to be tracers of the magnetic field generated in the interior by the dynamo mechanism. An important ingredient in recent models of this dynamo mechanism is the meridional flow of material, which is observed to be poleward on the Sunís surface and must be balanced by an equatorward counterflow in the interior. The nature and exact location of this counterflow, however, is unknown. Recent solar dynamo models, which use the helioseismically determined internal rotation of the Sun and confine the counterflow within the convection zone (as classical theories of solar convection would suggest), indicate that sunspots should form at higher latitudes, contrary to observations. Here we present a solar dynamo model with the correct latitudinal distribution of sunspots and show that this requires a counterflow that penetrates much deeper than hitherto believed - into the stable layers below the convection zone. The existence of such a deep counterflow of material may have important implications for turbulent convection and elemental abundance in the Sun and related stellar atmospheres.


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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.