A Caltech Library Service

The Solar Granulation

Leighton, Robert B. (1963) The Solar Granulation. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 1 . pp. 19-40. ISSN 0066-4146. doi:10.1146/annurev.aa.01.090163.000315.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Convective motions play a significant role in determining the structure of the outer layers of many stars including the sun. Subsurface convective motions in the sun produce, at the visible surface, the well-known cellular pattern that is called the "solar granulation." The solar granulation has its origin in the convectively unstable hydrogen ionization zone which begins about 300 km below the visible photosphere. The instability results from a combination of high opacity, which causes a steep radiative temperature gradient, and a low γ (ratio of specific heats) associated with the ionization of hydrogen. An upward-displaced fluid element, expanding so as to remain in pressure-equilibrium with its surroundings, finds itself warmer (and hence lighter) than the surroundings, and thus tends to continue rising; the reverse holds for a downward-displaced element, which tends to sink farther. Thus convective motions develop, so that the outward flow of heat energy proceeds partly by radiative transport and partly by convective transport.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 1963 Annual Reviews. The survey of literature pertaining to this review was concluded in June 1962.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161018-152131324
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:The Solar Granulation Robert B. Leighton Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 1: 19 -40 (Volume publication date September 1963)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:71238
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 Oct 2016 23:01
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 04:41

Repository Staff Only: item control page