Lowell Observatory Colloquia

Observational Tests of Magnetospheric Accretion Models in Young Stars

Chris Johns-Krull, Rice University

Lowell Observatory, Giclas Lecture Hall, May 8, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.

Magnetically controlled accretion of disk material onto the surface of Classical T Tauri stars is the dominant paradigm in our understanding of how these young stars interact with their surrounding disks. These stars provide a powerful test of magnetically controlled accretion models since all of the relevant parameters, including the magnetic field strength and geometry, are in principle measureable. Both the strength and the field geometry are key for understanding how these stars interact with their disks. This talk will focus on recent advances in magnetic field measurements on a large number of T Tauri stars, as well as very recent studies of the accretion rates onto a sample of young stars in NGC 2264 with known rotation periods. We discuss how these observations provide critical tests of magnetospheric accretion models which predict a rotational equilibrium is reached. We find good support for the model predictions once the complex geometry of the stellar magnetic field is taken into account. We will also explore how the observations of the accretion properties of the 2264 cluster stars can be used to test emerging ideas on how magnetic fields on young stars are generated and organized as a function of their internal structure (i.e. the presence of a radiative core). We do not find support for the hypothesis that large changes in the magentic field geometry occur when a radiative core appears in these young stars.

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