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Diagnoses to unravel secular hydrodynamical processes in rotating main sequence stars

Abstract : Context. With the progress of observational constraints on stellar rotation and on the angular velocity profile in stars, it is necessary to understand how angular momentum is transported in stellar interiors during their whole evolution. In this context, more highly refined dynamical stellar evolution models have been built that take into account transport mechanisms.Aims. Internal gravity waves (IGWs) excited by convective regions constitute an efficient transport mechanism over long distances in stellar radiation zones. They are one of the mechanisms that are suspected of being responsible for the quasi-flat rotation profile of the solar radiative region up to 0.2 R⊙. Therefore, we include them in our detailed analysis started in Paper I of the main physical processes responsible for the transport of angular momentum and chemical species in stellar radiation zones. Here, we focus on the complete interaction between differential rotation, meridional circulation, shear-induced turbulence, and IGWs during the main sequence.Methods. We improved the diagnosis tools designed in Paper I to unravel angular momentum transport and chemical mixing in rotating stars by taking into account IGWs. The star’s secular hydrodynamics is treated using projection on axisymmetric spherical harmonics and appropriate horizontal averages that allow the problem to be reduced to one dimension while preserving the non-diffusive character of angular momentum transport by the meridional circulation and IGWs. Wave excitation by convective zones is computed at each time-step of the evolution track. We choose here to analyse the evolution of a 1.1 M⊙, Z⊙ star in which IGWs are known to be efficient.Results. We quantify the relative importance of the physical mechanisms that sustain meridional currents and that drive the transport of angular momentum, heat, and chemicals when IGWs are taken into account. First, angular momentum extraction, Reynolds stresses caused by IGWs, and viscous stresses sustain a large-scale multi-cellular meridional circulation. This circulation in turn advects entropy, which generates temperature fluctuations and a new rotation profile because of thermal wind.Conclusions. We have refined our diagnosis of secular transport processes in stellar interiors. We confirm that meridional circulation is sustained by applied torques, internal stresses, and structural readjustments, rather than by thermal imbalance, and we detail the impact of IGWs. These large-scale flows then modify the thermal structure of stars, their internal rotation profile, and their chemical stratification. The tools we developed in Paper I and generalised for the present analysis will be used in the near future to study secular hydrodynamics of rotating stars taking into account IGWs in the whole Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.
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S. Mathis, T. Decressin, P. Eggenberger, C. Charbonnel. Diagnoses to unravel secular hydrodynamical processes in rotating main sequence stars. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2013, 558, pp.A11. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201321934⟩. ⟨cea-01135440⟩

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