Astrophys. J., 704, 1721-1729 (2009/October-3)
Magnetic field topology in low-mass stars: spectropolarimetric observations of M dwarfs.
PHAN-BAO N., LIM J., DONATI J.-F., JOHNS-KRULL C.M. and MARTIN E.L.
Abstract (from CDS):
The magnetic field topology plays an important role in the understanding of stellar magnetic activity. While it is widely accepted that the dynamo action present in low-mass partially convective stars (e.g., the Sun) results in predominantly toroidal magnetic flux, the field topology in fully convective stars (masses below ∼0.35 M☉) is still under debate. We report here our mapping of the magnetic field topology of the M4 dwarf G 164-31 (or Gl 490B), which is expected to be fully convective, based on time series data collected from 20 hr of observations spread over three successive nights with the ESPaDOnS spectropolarimeter. Our tomographic imaging technique applied to time series of rotationally modulated circularly polarized profiles reveals an axisymmetric large-scale poloidal magnetic field on the M4 dwarf. We then apply a synthetic spectrum fitting technique for measuring the average magnetic flux on the star. The flux measured in G 164-31 is|Bf| = 3.2±0.4 kG, which is significantly greater than the average value of 0.68 kG determined from the imaging technique. The difference indicates that a significant fraction of the stellar magnetic energy is stored in small-scale structures at the surface of G 164-31. Our Hα emission light curve shows evidence for rotational modulation suggesting the presence of localized structure in the chromosphere of this M dwarf. The radius of the M4 dwarf derived from the rotational period and the projected equatorial velocity is at least 30% larger than that predicted from theoretical models. We argue that this discrepancy is likely primarily due to the young nature of G 164-31 rather than primarily due to magnetic field effects, indicating that age is an important factor which should be considered in the interpretation of this observational result. We also report here our polarimetric observations of five other M dwarfs with spectral types from M0 to M4.5, three of them showing strong Zeeman signatures.
stars: individual (G 164-31, Gl 890, LHS 473, KP Tau, Gl 896B, 2E 4498) - stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs - stars: magnetic fields - techniques: polarimetric - techniques: spectroscopic
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