Identifying solar-like magnetic cycles with Zeeman-Doppler-Imaging (ZDI)

Lisa Theres Lehmann, Gaitee Ara Jaffer Hussain, Aline Vidotto, Moira Mary Jardine, Duncan Hendry Mackay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We are reaching the point where spectropolarimetric surveys have run for long enough to reveal solar-like magnetic activity cycles. In this paper we investigate what would be the best strategy to identify solar-like magnetic cycles and ask which large-scale magnetic field parameters best follow a solar-type magnetic cycle and are observable with the Zeeman-Doppler-Imaging (ZDI) technique. We approach these questions using the 3D non-potential flux transport simulations of Yeates & Mackay (2012) modelling the solar vector magnetic field over 15 years (centred on solar cycle 23). The flux emergence profile was extracted from solar synoptic maps and used as input for a photospheric flux transport model in combination with a non-potential coronal evo- lution model. We synthesise spectropolarimetric data from the simulated maps and reconstruct them using ZDI. The ZDI observed solar cycle is set into the context of other cool star observations and we present observable trends of the magnetic field topology with time, sunspot number and S-index. We find that the axisymmetric en- ergy fraction is the best parameter of the ZDI detectable large-scale field to trace solar-like cycles. Neither the surface averaged large-scale field or the total magnetic energy is appropriate. ZDI seems also to be able to recover the increase of the toroidal energy with S-index. We see further that ZDI might unveil hints of the dynamo modes that are operating and of the global properties of the small-scale flux emergence like active latitudes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243–1260
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date24 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Stars: activity
  • Stars: magnetic field
  • Stars: solar type
  • Methods: analytical


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