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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

Asteroseismology and magnetic cycles

A. R. G. Santos, M. S. Cunha, J. J. G. Lima

Small cyclic variations in the frequencies of acoustic modes are expected to be a common phenomenon in solar-like pulsators, as a result of stellar magnetic activity cycles. The frequency variations observed throughout the solar and stellar cycles contain information about structural changes that take place inside the stars as well as about variations in magnetic field structure and intensity. The task of inferring and disentangling that information is, however, not a trivial one. In the sun and solar-like pulsators, the direct effect of the magnetic field on the oscillations might be significantly important in regions of strong magnetic field (such as solar/stellar spots), where the Lorentz force can be comparable to the gas-pressure gradient. Our aim is to determine the sun-/starspot effect on the oscillation frequencies and attempt to understand if this effect contributes strongly to the frequency changes observed along the magnetic cycle. The total contribution of the spots to the frequency shifts results from a combination of direct and indirect effects of the magnetic field on the oscillations. In this first work we considered only the indirect effect associated with changes in the stratification within the starspot. Based on the solution of the wave equation and the variational principal we estimated the impact of these stratification changes on the oscillation frequencies of global modes in the sun and found that the induced frequency shifts are about two orders of magnitude smaller than the frequency shifts observed over the solar cycle.

stars: activity – stars: interiors – stars: magnetic fields – stars: oscillations – starspots – sunspots

Astronomische Nachrichten
Volume 333, Page 1032
December 2012

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Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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