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Solar differential rotation reproduced with high-resolution simulation
Nature Astronomy  (IF14.437),  Pub Date : 2021-09-13, DOI: 10.1038/s41550-021-01459-0
H. Hotta, K. Kusano

The Sun rotates differentially with a fast equator and slow pole1. Convection in the solar interior is thought to maintain the differential rotation. However, although many numerical simulations have been conducted to reproduce the solar differential rotation2,3,4,5,6,7, previous high-resolution calculations with solar parameters fall into the antisolar (fast-pole) differential rotation regime. Consequently, we still do not know the true reason why the Sun has a fast-rotating equator. While the construction of the fast equator requires a strong rotational influence on the convection, the previous calculations have not been able to achieve the situation without any manipulations. The problem is called the convective conundrum8. The convection and the differential rotation in numerical simulations were different from the observations. Here, we show that a high-resolution calculation succeeds in reproducing the solar-like differential rotation. Our calculations indicate that the strong magnetic field generated by a small-scale dynamo has a significant impact on thermal convection. The successful reproduction of the differential rotation, convection and magnetic field achieved in our calculation is an essential step to understanding the cause of the most basic nature of solar activity, specifically, the 11 yr cycle of sunspot activity.