Volume 629, September 2019
|Number of page(s)||13|
|Published online||11 September 2019|
Complexity of magnetic fields on red dwarfs★
Leibniz-Institut für Sonnenphysik (KIS),
2 Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, UC Santa Barbara, CA, USA
Accepted: 28 July 2019
Context. Magnetic fields in cool stars can be investigated by measuring Zeeman line broadening and polarization in atomic and molecular lines. Similar to the Sun, these fields are complex and height-dependent. Many molecular lines dominating M-dwarf spectra (e.g., FeH, CaH, MgH, and TiO) are temperature- and Zeeman-sensitive and form at different atmospheric heights, which makes them excellent probes of magnetic fields on M dwarfs.
Aims. Our goal is to analyze the complexity of magnetic fields in M dwarfs. We investigate how magnetic fields vary with the stellar temperature and how “surface” inhomogeneities are distributed in height – the dimension that is usually neglected in stellar magnetic studies.
Methods. We have determined effective temperatures of the photosphere and of magnetic features, magnetic field strengths and filling factors for nine M dwarfs (M1–M7). Our χ2 analysis is based on a comparison of observed and synthetic intensity and circular polarization profiles. Stokes profiles were calculated by solving polarized radiative transfer equations.
Results. Properties of magnetic structures depend on the analyzed atomic or molecular species and their formation heights. Two types of magnetic features similar to those on the Sun have been found: a cooler (starspots) and a hotter (network) one. The magnetic field strength in both starspots and network is within 3–6 kG, on average it is 5 kG. These fields occupy a large fraction of M dwarf atmospheres at all heights, up to 100%. The plasma β is less than one, implying highly magnetized stars.
Conclusions. A combination of molecular and atomic species and a simultaneous analysis of intensity and circular polarization spectra have allowed us to better decipher the complexity of magnetic fields on M dwarfs, including their dependence on the atmospheric height. This work provides an opportunity to investigate a larger sample of M dwarfs and L-type brown dwarfs.
Key words: stars: magnetic field / polarization / molecular processes / line: formation / radiative transfer
The spectra of the stars are also available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (220.127.116.11) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/cat/J/A+A/629/A83
© ESO 2019
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