Trends in ultracool dwarf magnetism. II. The inverse correlation between X-ray activity and rotation as evidence for a bimodal dynamo.
COOK B.A., WILLIAMS P.K.G. and BERGER E.
Abstract (from CDS):
Observations of magnetic activity indicators in solar-type stars exhibit a relationship with rotation with an increase until a "saturation" level and a moderate decrease in activity in the very fastest rotators ("supersaturation"). While X-ray data have suggested that this relationship is strongly violated in ultracool dwarfs (UCDs; spectral type ≳ M7), the limited number of X-ray detections has prevented firm conclusions. In this paper, we analyze the X-ray activity-rotation relation in 38 UCDs. Our sample represents the largest catalog of X-ray active UCDs to date, including seven new and four previously unpublished Chandra observations presented in a companion paper. We identify a substantial number of rapidly rotating UCDs with X-ray activity extending two orders of magnitude below the expected saturation level and measure a "supersaturation"-type anticorrelation between rotation and X-ray activity. The scatter in UCD X-ray activity at a fixed rotation is ∼3 times larger than that in earlier-type stars. We discuss several mechanisms that have been proposed to explain the data, including centrifugal stripping of the corona, and find them to be inconsistent with the observed trends. Instead, we suggest that an additional parameter correlated with both X-ray activity and rotation is responsible for the observed effects. Building on the results of Zeeman-Doppler imaging of UCD magnetic fields and our companion study of radio/X-ray flux ratios, we argue that this parameter is the magnetic field topology, and that the large scatter in UCD X-ray fluxes reflects the presence of two dynamo modes that produce distinct topologies.