BLANC - Blanc

MAgnetic Protostars and Planets – MAPP

Submission summary

Whereas the understanding of most phases of stellar evolution made considerable progress throughout the whole of the twentieth century, stellar formation remained rather enigmatic and poorly constrained by observations, until about two decades ago with the advent of the most powerful ground-based and space telescopes. One of the major discoveries obtained at this time is that protostellar accretion discs are often associated with extremely powerful and highly collimated jets escaping the disc along its rotation axis. This finding has revolutionized the field of stellar formation; in particular, it provided us with indirect, though fairly strong, evidence that magnetic fields are playing a major role throughout stellar formation. The present project aims at studying in detail the role of magnetic fields in stellar formation. Youth is indeed the period in the life of non-degenerate stars where magnetic fields are expected to have the strongest impact on the stellar structure, through the accretion/ejection processes involved in the collapse of the protostellar cloud. This study will especially focus on the core regions of protostellar accretion discs - including the newly born star. For this project, we will simultaneously collect new observational data and run dedicated multi-D MHD numerical simulations including magnetic fieds, whose detailed comparison will yield new clues on how magnetic fields influence the formation of stars and protoplanets. On the observational ground, this 4yr project will use the most advanced technology (spectropolarimetry) and data modeling (tomographic imaging) to derive how magnetic field are distributed throughout the core of accretion discs and at the surfaces of protostars. On the theoretical ground, the project will simulate stellar formation in the presence of magnetic fields, going from the initial cloud collapse until the protostar is actually formed, and including the production of winds/jets, the coupling of the star with its accretion disc and the migration of planets within the disc. The research program that we propose to carry out in this project is both very innovative, ambitious, unique and timely. Research in this area is presently a very hot topic in the international community, directly reflecting its crucial importance for several top-priority astrophysical programs, both nationally and internationally. To our knowledge, no existing program other than ours aims at studying the effect of magnetic fields on the formation of young low-mass stars as consistently and exhaustively as we propose here. Gathering an even proportion of observers and theorists, our team includes some of the foremost world experts (and in particular the French leaders) on all aspects tackled by the project.

Project coordination

Jean Francois DONATI (Université)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE ILE-DE-FRANCE SECTEUR PARIS A

Help of the ANR 300,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 48 Months

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