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Rotational evolution of solar-type protostars during the star-disk interaction phase

Abstract : Context. The early pre-main sequence phase during which solar-mass stars are still likely surrounded by an accretion disk represents a puzzling stage of their rotational evolution. While solar-mass stars are accreting and contracting, they do not seem to spin up substantially.
Aims: It is usually assumed that the magnetospheric star-disk interaction tends to maintain the stellar rotation period constant ("disk-locking"), but this hypothesis has never been thoroughly verified. Our aim is to investigate the impact of the star-disk interaction mechanism on the stellar spin evolution during the accreting pre-main sequence phases.
Methods: We devised a model for the torques acting on the stellar envelope based on studies of stellar winds, and we developed a new prescription for the star-disk coupling founded on numerical simulations of star-disk interaction and magnetospheric ejections. We then used this torque model to follow the long-term evolution of the stellar rotation.
Results: Strong dipolar magnetic field components up to a few kG are required to extract enough angular momentum so as to keep the surface rotation rate of solar-type stars approximately constant for a few Myr. Furthermore an efficient enough spin-down torque can be provided by either one of the following: a stellar wind with a mass outflow rate corresponding to ≈10% of the accretion rate, or a lighter stellar wind combined with a disk that is truncated around the corotation radius entering a propeller regime.
Conclusions: Magnetospheric ejections and accretion powered stellar winds play an important role in the spin evolution of solar-type stars. However, kG dipolar magnetic fields are neither uncommon or ubiquitous. Besides, it is unclear how massive stellar winds can be powered while numerical models of the propeller regime display a strong variability that has no observational confirmation. Better observational statistics and more realistic models could contribute to help lessen our calculations' requirements.
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 23, 2022 - 11:49:54 AM
Last modification on : Friday, June 24, 2022 - 3:07:04 AM

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F. Gallet, C. Zanni, L. Amard. Rotational evolution of solar-type protostars during the star-disk interaction phase. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2019, 632, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201935432⟩. ⟨insu-03699409⟩

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