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  Stellar mergers as the origin of magnetic massive stars

Schneider, F. R. N., Ohlmann, S. T., Podsiadlowski, P., Röpke, F. K., Balbus, S. A., Springel, V., et al. (2019). Stellar mergers as the origin of magnetic massive stars. Nature, 574(7777), 211-222. doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1621-5.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-5693-4 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-5694-3
Genre: Journal Article

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Schneider, Fabian R. N., Author
Ohlmann, Sebastian T., Author
Podsiadlowski, Philipp, Author
Röpke, Friedrich K., Author
Balbus, Steven A., Author
Springel, Volker1, Author              
Pakmor, Ruediger2, Author              
Affiliations:
1Computational Structure Formation, MPI for Astrophysics, Max Planck Society, ou_2205642              
2Stellar Astrophysics, MPI for Astrophysics, Max Planck Society, ou_159882              

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 Abstract: About ten per cent of ‘massive’ stars (those of more than 1.5 solar masses) have strong, large-scale surface magnetic fields1,2,3. It has been suggested that merging of main-sequence and pre-main-sequence stars could produce such strong fields4,5, and the predicted fraction of merged massive stars is also about ten per cent6,7. The merger hypothesis is further supported by a lack of magnetic stars in close binaries8,9, which is as expected if mergers produce magnetic stars. Here we report three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamical simulations of the coalescence of two massive stars and follow the evolution of the merged product. Strong magnetic fields are produced in the simulations, and the merged star rejuvenates such that it appears younger and bluer than other coeval stars. This can explain the properties of the magnetic ‘blue straggler’ star τ Sco in the Upper Scorpius association that has an observationally inferred, apparent age of less than five million years, which is less than half the age of its birth association10. Such massive blue straggler stars seem likely to be progenitors of magnetars, perhaps giving rise to some of the enigmatic fast radio bursts observed11, and their supernovae may be affected by their strong magnetic fields12.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2019-10-09
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1621-5
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Title: Nature
  Abbreviation : Nature
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London : Nature Publishing Group
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 574 (7777) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 211 - 222 Identifier: ISSN: 0028-0836
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925427238