Observational studies of low-mass stars during their early stages of evolution, from protostars through the zero-age main sequence, show highly elevated levels of magnetic activity. This activity includes strong fields covering much of the stellar surface and powerful magnetic reconnection flares seen in the X-ray and radio bands. The flaring may occur in the stellar magnetosphere, at the star-disk interface, or above the circumstellar disk. Ionization from the resulting high-energy radiation may have important effects on the astrophysics of the disk, such as promotion of accretion and coupling to outflows, and on the surrounding interstellar medium. The bombardment of solids in the solar nebula by flare shocks and energetic particles may account for various properties of meteorites, such as chondrule melting and spallogenic isotopes. X-ray surveys also improve our samples of young stars, particularly in the weak-lined T Tauri phase after disks have dissipated, with implications for our understanding of star formation in the solar neighborhood.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science