We investigate the consequences of magnetic flares on the surface of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) and similar stars. In contrast to the solar wind, in the winds of AGB stars the gas cooling time is much shorter than the outflow time. As a result, we predict that energetic flaring will not inhibit, and may even enhance, dust formation around AGB stars. If magnetic flares do occur around such stars, we expect some AGB stars to exhibit X-ray emission; indeed, certain systems including AGB stars, such as Mira, have been detected in X-rays. However, in these cases, it is difficult to distinguish between potential AGB star X-ray emission and, e.g., X-ray emission from the vicinity of a binary companion. Analysis of an archival ROSAT X-ray spectrum of the Mira system suggests an intrinsic X-ray luminosity ~2x10^29 ergs s^-1 and temperature ~10^7 K. These modeling results suggest that magnetic activity, either on the AGB star (Mira A) or on its nearby companion (Mira B), is the source of the X-rays, but do not rule out the possibility that the X-rays are generated by an accretion disk around Mira B (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).
Department, Program, or Center
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)
Astrophys.J. 592 (2003) 498-503
RIT – Main Campus