Magnetic field, dust and axisymmetrical mass loss on the asymptotic giant branch

Noam Soker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


I propose a mechanism for axisymmetrical mass loss on the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) that may account for the axially symmetric structure of elliptical planetary nebulae. The proposed model operates for slowly rotating AGB stars, having angular velocities in the range of 10-4ωKep ≲ ω ≲ 10-2ωKep, where ωKep is the equatorial Keplerian angular velocity. Such angular velocities could be gained from a planet companion of mass ≳0.1MJupiter, which deposits its orbital angular momentum to the envelope at late stages, or even from single stars that are fast rotators on the main sequence. The model assumes that dynamo magnetic activity results in the formation of cool spots, above which dust forms much more easily. The enhanced magnetic activity towards the equator results in a higher dust formation rate there, and hence higher mass-loss rate. As the star ascends the AGB, both the mass-loss rate and magnetic activity increase rapidly, and hence the mass loss becomes more asymmetrical, with higher mass-loss rate closer to the equatorial plane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1242-1248
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 1998
Externally publishedYes


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


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