Volume 405, Number 1, July I 2003
|Page(s)||291 - 301|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||16 June 2003|
Dynamics of magnetic flux tubes in close binary stars
I. Equilibrium and stability properties
Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie, Max-Planck-Str. 2, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St. Andrews, North Haugh, St. Andrews KY16 9SS, UK
Corresponding author: V. Holzwarth, email@example.com
Accepted: 18 April 2003
Surface reconstructions of active close binary stars based on photometric and spectroscopic observations reveal non-uniform starspot distributions, which indicate the existence of preferred spot longitudes (with respect to the companion star). We consider the equilibrium and linear stability of toroidal magnetic flux tubes in close binaries to examine whether tidal effects are capable to initiate the formation of rising flux loops at preferred longitudes near the bottom of the stellar convection zone. The tidal force and the deviation of the stellar structure from spherical symmetry are treated in lowest-order perturbation theory assuming synchronised close binaries with orbital periods of a few days. The frequency, growth time, and spatial structure of linear eigenmodes are determined by a stability analysis. We find that, despite their small magnitude, tidal effects can lead to a considerable longitudinal asymmetry in the formation probability of flux loops, since the breaking of the axial symmetry due to the presence of the companion star is reinforced by the sensitive dependence of the stability properties on the stellar stratification and by resonance effects. The orientation of preferred longitudes of loop formation depends on the equilibrium configuration and the wave number of the dominating eigenmode. The change of the growth times of unstable modes with respect to the case of a single star is very small.
Key words: stars: binaries: close / stars: magnetic fields / stars: starspots / stars: activity / stars: imaging
© ESO, 2003
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