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The weak magnetic field of the O9.7 supergiant ?OrionisA

Abstract : We report here the detection of a weak magnetic field of 50-100G on the O9.7 supergiant ?OrionisA (?OriA), using spectropolarimetric observations obtained with NARVAL at the 2-m Télescope Bernard Lyot atop Pic du Midi (France). ?OriA is the third O star known to host a magnetic field (along with ?1OriC and HD191612), and the first detection on a `normal' rapidly rotating O star. The magnetic field of ?OriA is the weakest magnetic field ever detected on a massive star. The measured field is lower than the thermal equipartition limit (about 100G). By fitting non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE) model atmospheres to our spectra, we determined that ?OriA is a 40Msolar star with a radius of 25Rsolar and an age of about 5-6Myr, showing no surface nitrogen enhancement and losing mass at a rate of about 2 × 10-6Msolaryr-1. The magnetic topology of ?OriA is apparently more complex than a dipole and involves two main magnetic polarities located on both sides of the same hemisphere; our data also suggest that ?OriA rotates in about 7.0d and is about 40° away from pole-on to an Earth-based observer. Despite its weakness, the detected magnetic field significantly affects the wind structure; the corresponding Alfvén radius is however very close to the surface, thus generating a different rotational modulation in wind lines than that reported on the two other known magnetic O stars. The rapid rotation of ?OriA with respect to ?1OriC appears as a surprise, both stars having similar unsigned magnetic fluxes (once rescaled to the same radius); it may suggest that the subequipartition field detected on ?OriA is not a fossil remnant (as opposed to that of ?1 OriC and HD191612), but the result of an exotic dynamo action produced through magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) instabilities. Based on observations obtained at the Télescope Bernard Lyot (TBL), operated by the Institut National des Science de l'Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of France. E-mail:
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Submitted on : Friday, June 18, 2021 - 2:25:56 PM
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J.-C. Bouret, J.-F. Donati, F. Martins, C. Escolano, W. Marcolino, et al.. The weak magnetic field of the O9.7 supergiant ?OrionisA. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2008, 389, pp.75-85. ⟨10.1111/J.1365-2966.2008.13575.X⟩. ⟨hal-00353562⟩



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