White dwarfs in a binary often merge into a variety of interesting phenomena. However, nobody has sought to understand the role that magnetic fields play during the merger. The authors simulate the merging of two white dwarfs with magnetic fields to see what happens.
Stars form via gravitational collapse of molecular cloud cores. But observations reveal that far less gas is turned into stars than you would suspect by naively calculating the star formation rate. So what can we do about this mismatch?
The galaxy is littered with white dwarfs, the burnt out remnants of stars that have run out of hydrogen fuel in their cores, but were too small to explode as supernovae. But far from being lifeless orbs, around a tenth of white dwarfs have powerful magnetic fields, a million times stronger than that of the Sun. How did these magnetic white dwarfs become such strong magnets? And just how many are there. The authors of this paper set out to answer the second of these questions, in the hope that it would shed light on the first.
While the Sun is an excellent starting point in a quest to understand magnetism, the authors of today’s paper want more. They take advantage of something only relatively cool stars can have in their atmospheres to study magnetic fields: molecules in starspots.
The orbits of some recently discovered exoplanets seem to be synchronised with the rotation of their host stars. Can this mystery be explained?