Dust formation above cool magnetic spots in evolved stars

Noam Soker*, Geoffrey C. Clayton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


We examine the structure of cool magnetic spots in the photospheres of evolved stars, specifically asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars and R Coronae Borealis (RCB) stars. We find that the photosphere of a cool magnetic spot will be above the surrounding photosphere of AGB stars, which is the opposite of the situation in the Sun. This results from the behaviour of the opacity, which increases with decreasing temperature, which again is the opposite of the behaviour of the opacity near the effective temperature of the Sun. We analyse the formation of dust above the cool magnetic spots, and suggest that the dust formation is facilitated by strong shocks, driven by stellar pulsations, which run through and around the spots. The presence of both the magnetic field and cooler temperatures makes dust formation easier as the shock passes above the spot. We review some observations supporting the proposed mechanism, and suggest further observations to check the model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1000
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 21 Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Circumstellar matter
  • MHD
  • Planetary nebulae: general
  • Stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • Stars: mass-loss

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