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Magnetic Activity in Binary Stars

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  • Klaus G. Strassmeier
  • Institute for Astronomy, University of Vienna, A-1180, Wien, Austria

“Activity” is a term that came originally from solar astrophysics, where astronomers refer to the quiet Sun and the active Sun depending on whether our star is in a state of sunspot minimum or maximum, respectively. More physically, we mean with activity all phenomena inside and outside of a star that are related to its magnetic field, e.g. the rise of flux tubes in a stellar convection zone and their appearance as spots and plages on the stellar surface or, magnetically induced particle acceleration and its braking effect on the stellar rotation, or simply the interplay between a magnetic field and its surrounding plasma. Bear three things in mind, a magnetic field plays a key role in many astrophysical processes, its mathematical treatment can be somewhat complicated and, therefore, is always the first process that is neglected. . . The stellar magnetic field is intimately related to stellar rotation and the quest to understand stellar magnetic activity is thus always a quest to understand stellar rotation. In this lecture, we will focus on the many aspects of stellar rotation and compare the situation of binary stars with their single star counterparts whenever appropriate. I will concentrate on the available observations and their interpretations even though that fundamental progress will also come from the detailed inclusion of magnetic fields in, e.g., radiation hydrodynamics. We emphasize how important considerations of magnetic activity will become once the new generation of large telescopes is turned to late-type binary stars. Parts of the topics in this lecture are adapted and updated from my reference [111] which appeared in german language. I have tried, however, to avoid topics that were already covered in the excellent review by Guinan & Giménez [36]

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Binary Stars. Selected Topics on Observations and Physical Processes

Springer (e-books)
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  • Beta Lyrae stars
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