Prominences and magnetic activity on young single and binary stars
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In this thesis I study the magnetic activity of young stars via observations of stellar prominences on single stars and by applying the Zeeman Doppler imaging (ZDI) technique to map the magnetic fields and measure differential rotation of a young binary system. Stellar prominences can be observed as absorption transients in the rotationally broadened chromospheric lines of rapidly rotating stars. Observations of Speedy Mic(K3V) reveal a densely packed prominence system at heights far above the stellar co-rotation radius. Further observations were used to estimate prominence column densities and masses. From very high signal-to-noise observations, loops of emission are found that trace the path of prominences seen transiting the stellar disc. I also present what appears to be the first observation of an erupting stellar prominence on AB Doradus (K0V). I modify an existing ZDI code so that it can recover the magnetic maps of a binary system. The new code is applied to observations of the pre-main sequence binary system HD 155555 (G5IV+K0IV). The radial magnetic maps reveal a complex surface magnetic topology with mixed polarities at all latitudes and rings of azimuthal field present on both stars. The evolution of the relative field strengths between observations in 2004 and 2007 could be indicative of a magnetic activity cycle. I adapt the sheared image technique for measuring differential rotation parameters to the binary case. Both stellar components of HD 155555 are found to have rates of differential rotation similar to those of the same spectral type main sequence single stars. This is in apparent conflict with previous work on evolved binary systems where low rates of differential rotation were found, leading to the suggestion of suppression by binary tidal forces. I find that the depth of convection zone alone can likely explain the differential rotation results without invoking tidal forces.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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