University of Heidelberg

Talk Details

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - 3:15pm

Ralph Pudritz (McMaster University):

"Solving the protostellar angular momentum problem"

Abstract. It has long been known that a large fraction of accreting young stellar objects such as T-Tauri stars, rotate at only 10% of their break-up speed. This is surprising given their measured accretion rates (from their surrounding disks), stars should achieve break-up spin periods within a few hundred thousand years (considerably less than the lifetime of their disks). Various theories have been advanced as to the nature of the spin-down torque that must counteract this vigourous spin-up accretion torque. These models include the disk-locking mechanism (involving the interaction of the stellar magnetic field and the surrounding disk), and the X-wind model. We (Matt and Pudritz) have recently advanced a new model for the process which involves the creation of a strong, magnetic wind from the star that is powered by the accretion of material onto the star. I will show how our accretion-powered stellar wind model overcomes the difficulties of the other mechanisms, and addresses recent observations. This model has many implications for accreting magnetized objects of all kinds.

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