AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 54. Angular Momentum Evolution of Young Stars
Topical Session Oral, Wednesday, June 5, 2002, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, Ruidoso/Pecos

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[54.06] Star-Disk Coupling Mechanisms

F. H. Shu (National Tsing Hua University and UC Berkeley)

We attempt to clarify the confusion concerning angular-momentum coupling mechanisms when closed and open magnetic fields originating from a young star thread through a surrounding disk. We argue that the traditional Ghosh & Lamb description represents only a transient behavior that does not account for important longer-term effects that arise because of accretion and if the disk is highly, but imperfectly, electrically conducting. In the latter case, we argue that the steady-state response of the system is to form a funnel-flow/x-wind geometry. We describe approximate, self-consistent, calculations of the gas flow for the case when the unperturbed magnetic-field configuration of the star would have been a pure dipole in the absence of the disk. We show that the disk-star interactions considerably modifies the actual magnetospheric structure of the system.

We also show calculations where we drop the assumption that the unperturbed magnetosphere is a pure dipole. As long as the radius of the inner edge of the disk is a few or more times the radius of the star, we find that the properties of the x-wind are little changed by the relaxation of the dipole assumption. However, the size and geometry of the hot spots where the funnel flow impacts the star can be greatly affected by the exact mixture of multipoles chosen to model the magnetic fields on the stellar surface. The crucial invariant in our theory is the amount of trapped flux required to truncate a disk of a certain accretion rate before the flow reaches the equator of a star of given mass. We present empirical evidence that trapped flux is indeed the relevant concept for the explanation of the hot-spot properties of T Tauri stars. We close with a qualitative discussion of the limits of the validity of the concept of disk locking. This research is supported in part by grants from NASA and the National Science Foundation.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.