Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Glasgow astronomers explain hot star disks

01.11.2002


Astronomers have been puzzled for decades as to how the rings of hot gas surrounding certain types of star are formed. Now a team of scientists from the Universities of Glasgow and Wisconsin believe they have found the answer. The team studied a type of young, hot star, known as a "Be star", that has a disk of glowing gas around it, similar to the rings surrounding Saturn. Until now, no one has been able to account for how these rings form but in a paper published this month*, the team suggest an answer.


Artist’s impression of a Be Star



The gas ring surrounding a Be Star may appear and then disappear, possibly reforming at a later time. Material in the disk is attracted back towards the star by the pull of gravity, but if it has enough energy it can escape into space, contributing to the stellar wind.

The new theory reveals why this material is held in a disk at some distance from the star instead of either being pulled closer or flying away into space.


Deborah Telfer of Glasgow University explains
"Our model relies on the existence of a magnetic field around Be stars producing a ‘Magnetically Torqued Disk’. Magnetic field lines channel stellar wind material leaving the surface of the star down towards the equatorial plane. A disk then forms in the region where particles have sufficient angular velocity to balance gravity. In the outer regions, the weaker magnetic field lines should burst open allowing particles to form part of the general stellar wind."

Previously, the Wind Compressed Disk Model (Bjorkman and Cassinelli, 1993) was regarded as one of the most successful explanations of circumstellar disks. However, it predicts disks that are out-flowing (i.e. the material moves from the star to the disk and then away into space) and expanding. Yet Be stars are observed to have circumstellar Keplerian disks, meaning that the disks are supported against gravity by rotation rather than gas or radiation pressure.

Deborah has been working with Joseph Cassinelli of Wisconsin on the new model for Be star disks and they are delighted at the success of their results.

These suggest that only a narrow range of types of star would form a detectable Magnetically Torqued Disk and be seen as Be stars.

Heavier stars would require an unreasonably large magnetic field while lighter stars would produce disks too small to be detected. More work is needed to explain every aspect of observational evidence but we may finally be reaching an understanding of what
produces these Saturn-like stars.

Julia Maddock | alfa

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation
19.01.2018 | Carnegie Institution for Science

nachricht Artificial agent designs quantum experiments
19.01.2018 | Universität Innsbruck

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>