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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

Magnetic braking in young late-type stars: the effect of polar spots

A. Aibéo, J. M. Ferreira, J. J. G. Lima

Abstract

Context. The existence of rapidly rotating cool stars in young clusters implies a reduction of angular momentum loss rate for a certain period of the star’s early life. Recently, the concentration of magnetic flux near the poles of these stars has been proposed as an alternative mechanism to dynamo saturation in order to explain the saturation of angular momentum loss.
Aims. In this work we study the effect of magnetic surface flux distribution on the coronal field topology and angular momentum loss rate. We investigate if magnetic flux concentration towards the pole is a reasonable alternative to dynamo saturation.
Methods. We construct a 1D wind model and also apply a 2-D self-similar analytical model, to evaluate how the surface field distribution affects the angular momentum loss of the rotating star.
Results. From the 1D model we find that, in a magnetically dominated low corona, the concentrated polar surface field rapidly expands to regions of low magnetic pressure resulting in a coronal field with small latitudinal variation. We also find that the angular momentum loss rate due to a uniform field or a concentrated field with equal total magnetic flux is very similar. From the 2D wind model we show that there are several relevant factors to take into account when studying the angular momentum loss from a star. In particular, we show that the inclusion of force balance across the field in a wind model is fundamental if realistic conclusions are to be drawn from the effect of non-uniform surface field distribution on magnetic braking. This model predicts that a magnetic field concentrated at high latitudes leads to larger Alfv´en radii and larger braking rates than a smoother field distribution.
Conclusions. From the results obtained, we argue that the magnetic surface field distribution towards the pole does not directly limit the braking efficiency of the wind.

Keywords
stars: late-type - stars: magnetic fields - stars: winds, starspots

Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume 473, Page 501
September 2007

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