Observations of Cool-Star Magnetic Fields

Ansgar Reiners 
Institut für Astrophysik
Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1
37077 Göttingen

'External link'http://www.astro.physik.uni-goettingen.de/~areiners
This article has been revised on 29 March 2012 (see changes in detail).


Cool stars like the Sun harbor convection zones capable of producing substantial surface magnetic fields leading to stellar magnetic activity. The influence of stellar parameters like rotation, radius, and age on cool-star magnetism, and the importance of the shear layer between a radiative core and the convective envelope for the generation of magnetic fields are keys for our understanding of low-mass stellar dynamos, the solar dynamo, and also for other large-scale and planetary dynamos. Our observational picture of cool-star magnetic fields has improved tremendously over the last years. Sophisticated methods were developed to search for the subtle effects of magnetism, which are difficult to detect particularly in cool stars. With an emphasis on the assumptions and capabilities of modern methods used to measure magnetism in cool stars, I review the different techniques available for magnetic field measurements. I collect the analyses on cool-star magnetic fields and try to compare results from different methods, and I review empirical evidence that led to our current picture of magnetic fields and their generation in cool stars and brown dwarfs.

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