A magnetic confinement versus rotation classification of massive-star magnetospheres

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/sts344
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TypeArticle
Journal titleMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
ISSN0035-8711
Volume429
Issue1
Pages398422; # of pages: 25
AbstractBuilding on results from the Magnetism in Massive Stars (MiMeS) project, this paper shows how a two-parameter classification of massive-star magnetospheres in terms of the magnetic wind confinement (which sets the Alfv́en radius RA) and stellar rotation (which sets the Kepler co-rotation radius RK) provides a useful organization of both observational signatures and theoretical predictions. We compile the first comprehensive study of inferred and observed values for relevant stellar and magnetic parameters of 64 confirmed magnetic OB stars with Teff> 16 kK. Using these parameters, we locate the stars in the magnetic confinement-rotation diagram, a log-log plot of RK versus RA. This diagram can be subdivided into regimes of centrifugal magnetospheres (CM), with RA > RK, versus dynamical magnetospheres (DM), with RK > RA. We show how key observational diagnostics, like the presence and characteristics of Ha emission, depend on a star-s position within the diagram, as well as other parameters, especially the expected wind mass-loss rates. In particular, we identify two distinct populations of magnetic stars with Ha emission: namely, slowly rotating O-type stars with narrow emission consistent with a DM, and more rapidly rotating B-type stars with broader emission associated with a CM. For O-type stars, the high mass-loss rates are sufficient to accumulate enough material for line emission even within the relatively short free-fall time-scale associated with a DM: this high mass-loss rate also leads to a rapid magnetic spindown of the stellar rotation. For the B-type stars, the longer confinement of a CMis required to accumulate sufficient emitting material from their relatively weak winds, which also lead to much longer spindown time-scales. Finally, we discuss how other observational diagnostics, e.g. variability of UV wind lines or X-ray emission, relate to the inferred magnetic properties of these stars, and summarize prospects for future developments in our understanding of massive-star magnetospheres©2012 The Authors.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (HIA-IHA)
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21269987
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Record identifier9038428b-a295-47a6-bf77-75a63b9b9e4d
Record created2013-12-13
Record modified2016-05-09
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