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Magnetic Braking

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Posted by Harvey on May 26, 2002 14:23:52 UTC

Let me quote Tomisaka ("Evolution of Angular Momentum Distribution during Star Formation", K. Tomisaka, 1999):

"Spin angular momentum must be reduced to account for our observations. Two mechanisms have been proposed. One is to transfer the cloud spin angular momentum to the orbital angular momentum of binary or multiple protostars if they are made by fission. The other possibility is magnetic braking, in which angular momentum is transferred to the ambient medium by the magnetic stress".

The magnetic braking hypothesis seems to be the most promising. It was introduced in 1978 by L. Spitzer Jr ("Physical Processes in the Interstellar Medium", Wiley, New York, section 13.3). Nakano (MNRA, 242, 535, 1990) suggested that the coupling between gas and the magnetic properties of the stellar cloud is not only enough to account for the transfer of angular momentum, but also later evolution of angular momentum issues.

I don't know if this hypothesis is correct. We know that stellar disks are forming out there, we know that within 20 years of observation that light can begin to emanate from previous non-illuminated nebula regions, and we know the stellar cloud dissipates quickly (maybe less than 1 my). We just need to become familiar with the mechanisms. Maybe even dark matter or dark energy play a role, these are all issues that need to be understood.

Warm regards, Harv

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