Spatially resolving the accretion shocks on the rapidly-rotating MO T-Tauri star MN Lupi

K. G. Strassmeier*, J. B. Rice, A. Ritter, M. Küker, G. A J Hussain, S. Hubrig, R. Shobbrook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


We obtained high-resolution, high-quality VLT/UVES spectra to reconstruct the two-dimensional surface structure of the rapidly-rotating classical T-Tauri star MN Lupi on two separate nights. Both surface maps show a structured warm (5000 K) band centered around the pole at a latitude of ≈65°. Located within the band are two hot spots with temperatures of approximately or possibly even in excess of 5800 K, i.e. 2000 K above the effective photospheric temperature. Both maps appear with an adjacent equatorial band of temperature 3400 K, some 400-500 K below the effective photospheric temperature. While we interpret the two hot spots and the warm high-latitude band to be the heating points from two accretion impacts at the time of our observations and their redistributed energy trailed due to the fast stellar rotation, respectively, the cool equatorial band may not be cool after all but due to obscuration of the stellar surface by the innermost region of the disk. The fact that the hot spots appear at high stellar latitude is in agreement with the magnetospheric accretion model that proposes material funnelling onto the star along a predominantly dipolar magnetic field at roughly 50° latitude. The evidence of ongoing disk accretion, together with the very fast rotation of MN Lupi of just 3-4 times below its break-up velocity, suggests that the accretion mechanism is the cause of its rapid surface rotation. We present a model of magnetic star-disk coupling for MN Lupi that predicts a polar surface magnetic field of ≈3 kG.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1118
Number of pages14
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005


  • Stars: activity
  • Stars: imaging
  • Stars: individual: MN Lup
  • Stars: individual: T Tauri
  • Stars: pre-main sequence
  • Starspots


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