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Paper   IPM / Astronomy / 15710
School of Astronomy
  Title:   Gravity darkening in late-type stars. The Coriolis effect
1.  R. Raynaud
2.  M. Rieutord
3.  L. Petitdemange
4.  Th. Gastine
5.  B. Putigny
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Astronomy & Astrophysics
  Vol.:  609
  Year:  2018
  Supported by:            ipm IPM
Recent interferometric data have been used to constrain the brightness distribution at the surface of nearby stars, in particular the so-called gravity darkening that makes fast rotating stars brighter at their poles than at their equator. However, good models of gravity darkening are missing for stars that posses a convective envelope. In order to better understand how rotation affects the heat transfer in stellar convective envelopes, we focus on the heat flux distribution in latitude at the outer surface of numerical models. We carry out a systematic parameter study of three-dimensional, direct numerical simulations of anelastic convection in rotating spherical shells. Restricting our investigations to hydrodynamical models with a thermal Prandtl number fixed to unity, we consider both thick and thin (solar-like) shells, and vary the stratification over three orders of magnitude. We measure the heat transfer efficiency in terms of the Nusselt number, defined as the output luminosity normalised by the conductive state luminosity. We report diverse Nusselt number profiles in latitude, ranging from brighter (usually at the onset of convection) to darker equator and uniform profiles. We find that the variations of the surface brightness are mainly controlled by the surface value of the local Rossby number: when the Coriolis force dominates the dynamics, the heat flux is weakened in the equatorial region by the zonal wind and enhanced at the poles by convective motions inside the tangent cylinder. In the presence of a strong background density stratification however, as expected in real stars, the increase of the local Rossby number in the outer layers leads to uniformisation of the surface heat flux distribution.

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