The non-dipolar magnetic fields of accreting T Tauri stars

S. G. Gregory, S. P. Matt, J. -F. Donati, M. Jardine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Models of magnetospheric accretion on to classical T Tauri stars often assume that stellar magnetic fields are simple dipoles. Recently published surface magnetograms of BP Tau and V2129 Oph have shown, however, that their fields are more complex. The magnetic field of V2129 Oph was found to be predominantly octupolar. For BP Tau, the magnetic energy was shared mainly between the dipole and octupole field components, with the dipole component being almost four times as strong as that of V2129 Oph. From the published surface maps of the photospheric magnetic fields, we extrapolate the coronal fields of both stars, and compare the resulting field structures with that of a dipole. We consider different models where the disc is truncated at, or well within, the Keplerian corotation radius. We find that although the structure of the surface magnetic field is particularly complex for both stars, the geometry of the larger scale field, along which accretion is occurring, is somewhat simpler. However, the larger scale field is distorted close to the star by the stronger field regions, with the net effect being that the fractional open flux through the stellar surface is less than would be expected with a dipole magnetic field model. Finally, we estimate the disc truncation radius, assuming that this occurs where the magnetic torque from the stellar magnetosphere is comparable to the viscous torque in the disc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1839-1850
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2008


  • Stars: activity
  • stars: coronae
  • stars: individual: BP Tau
  • stars: individual: V2129 Oph
  • stars: magnetic fields
  • Stars: pre-main sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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