• Equilibrium configuration of the magnetosphere of a star loaded with accreted magnetized mass

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    • Keywords


      stellar magnetospheres; accretion of magnetized mass; X-ray binaries

    • Abstract


      Equilibrium configuration of the magnetosphere of a star loaded by the gravitationally accreted plasma having its own magnetic field is investigated. Axisymmetry around the star’s magnetic axis is assumed for simplicity. It is seen that two distinct configurations appear for the cases of parallel and antiparallel magnetic field of the accreted plasma with respect to the star’s magnetic moment. If the external field is antiparallel to the star’s magnetic moment, the stellar magnetosphere is confined within a spherical region surrounded by the external field with a separatric surface between them. This is an extension of the case of the spherical accretion of non-magnetic plasma dealt with thus far in connection with the mass accretion by the degenerate stars in X-ray binaries. It is noticed that the mass slides down along the field lines to the point closest to the star and is stratified hydrostatically in equilibrium to form a disk in the equatorial plane. The mass loading compresses the sphere as a whole in this case. If, on the other hand, the external field is parallel to the star’s magnetic moment, there appears a ring of magnetic neutral point in the equatorial plane. Polar field is open and extends to infinity while the low-latitude field is closed and faces the external field of opposite polarity across the neutral point. The increase of the loaded mass in this case causes a shrink of the closed field region, and the open polar flux is increased. Therefore, the transition between equilibria with small and large amount of the loaded mass requires the reconnection of magnetic lines of force, and the reconnection of the flux through the magnetic neutral ring is proposed as the mechanism of the steady or the intermittent mass leakage like the ones postulated for some X-ray bursters.

    • Author Affiliations


      Yutaka Uchida1 B. C. Low1 2

      1. Tokyo Astronomical Observatory, University of Tokyo, Mitaka, Tokyo - 181, Japan
      2. High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, Colorado - 80307, USA
    • Dates

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