Investigating The Magnetospheres Of Rapidly Rotating B-type Stars

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Published In

Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union


Recent spectropolarimetric surveys of bright, hot stars have found that ~10% of OB-type stars contain strong (mostly dipolar) surface magnetic fields (~kG). The prominent paradigm describing the interaction between the stellar winds and the surface magnetic field is the magnetically confined wind shock (MCWS) model. In this model, the stellar wind plasma is forced to move along the closed field loops of the magnetic field, colliding at the magnetic equator, and creating a shock. As the shocked material cools radiatively it will emit X-rays. Therefore, X-ray spectroscopy is a key tool in detecting and characterizing the hot wind material confined by the magnetic fields of these stars. Some B-type stars are found to have very short rotational periods. The effects of the rapid rotation on the X-ray production within the magnetosphere have yet to be explored in detail. The added centrifugal force due to rapid rotation is predicted to cause faster wind outflows along the field lines, leading to higher shock temperatures and harder X-rays. However, this is not observed in all rapidly rotating magnetic B-type stars. In order to address this from a theoretical point of view, we use the X-ray Analytical Dynamical Magnetosphere (XADM) model, originally developed for slow rotators, with an implementation of new rapid rotational physics. Using X-ray spectroscopy from ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope, we observed 5 rapidly rotating B-types stars to add to the previous list of observations. Comparing the observed X-ray luminosity and hardness ratio to that predicted by the XADM allows us to determine the role the added centrifugal force plays in the magnetospheric X-ray emission of these stars.


massive stars, magnetic fields, stars, rotation, x-rays


The Lives And Death-Throes Of Massive Stars

Conference Dates

November 28-December 2, 2016

Conference Location

Auckland, New Zealand