Magnetic Flares in Close Binaries

  • Jan Kuijpers
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIC, volume 319)


Our present understanding of solar flares is reviewed and applied to close binaries, both with and without mass exchange, with a compact star and with both stars having convective envelopes. Although many details of the solar flare energy release are still not clear, in particular the processes of magnetic field reconnection and particle acceleration, it now appears that the global course of events in a flare is well understood and simple. In general magnetic flares arise when a dynamo is coupled electrodynamically to a magnetically dominated storage region. The dynamo converts kinetic (convection or accretion) energy into (electro)magnetic energy if the flow crossing time of the system is much less than the ohmic dissipation time. Magnetic energy can be transferred via a Poynting flux to a magnetically connected storage region. If the storage region is dynamically dominated by magnetic fields instead of by gas pressure or motion and if its Alfvén crossing time is much less than the flow crossing time, the magnetically dominated region evolves through a quasi-static series of force free fields. As the amount of stored energy becomes comparable to the energy of the original magnetic field structure before its distortion, the excess energy is released catastrophically. The release time is a number of Alfvén crossing times of the relaxing structure.

Eruptive phenomena have been observed in many close binaries, with and without compact objects. In fact various classes of close binaries satisfy the conditions for flare production and several of the observed explosions are probably magnetic flares. In these systems the dynamo is formed by the traditional convective envelope of a normal star, or the accretion disk around a normal star or compact companion, or more generally by the transferred mass as it falls in towards the companion and interacts with the magnetic field of the receiving star. The storage region is situated in the individual stellar coronae, in the common dilute envelope or in disk coronae, or in the magnetosphere of the compact object. As a particular example we show that magnetic flares occur in Low-Mass X-Ray Binaries and how they can explain the quasi-periodic oscillations (QPO) observed in X-rays.


Neutron Star Solar Phys Solar Flare Accretion Disk Flux Tube 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    Solar and Stellar Flares, Proc. of the 104th Coll. of the IAU, eds. B.M. Haisch and M. Rodonò, 1989, Solar Phys. 121, Nos. 1/2.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Solar and Stellar Flares, Poster papers of IAU Coll. No. 104, eds. B.M. Haisch and M. Rodonò, 1989, Catania Astrophysical Observatory, special publication, Catania, Italia.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Neubauer, F.M.: 1980, J. Geophys. Res. 85, 1171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    Barnett, A. and Olbert, S.: 1986, J. Geophys. Res. 91, 10117.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    Dobrowolny, M. and Veltri, P.: 1986, Astron. Astrophys. 167, 179.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    Scheurwater, R. and Kuijpers, J.: 1988, Astron. Astrophys. 190, 178.ADSzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    Roberts, P.H.: 1967, An Introduction to Magnetohydrodynamics, Longmans, Green and Co Ltd, London, Ch. 4.4, 1.1.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    Freidberg, J.P. 1987 Ideal Magnetohydrodynamics, Plenum Press, New York, p. 61, p. 477.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    Low, B.C.: 1986, Astrophys J. 307, 205.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    Aly, J.J.: 1985, Astron. Astrophys. 143, 19.ADSzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    Mikic, Z., Barnes, D.C., Schnack, D.D.: 1988, Astrophys J. 328, 830.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    Biskamp, D.: 1989, in Plasma Phenomena in the Solar Atmosphere, eds. M.A. Dubois and D. Grésillon, Cargèse, France, in press.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    Forbes, T.G: 1990, Solar Phys. in press.Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    Sakurai, T.: 1989, Solar Phys. 121, 347.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    Schadee, A.: 1986, Adv. Space Res. 6, No. 6, 41.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    Schadee, A., de Jager, C. and Svestka, Z.: 1983, Solar Phys. 89, 287.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. [17]
    Bahcall, J.N., Rosenbluth, M.N., Kulsrud, R.M.: 1973, Nature Phys. Sci. 243, 27.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    DeCampli, W.M. and Baliunas, S.L.: 1979, Astrophys J. 230, 815.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    Simon, T., Linsky, J.L., and Schiffer III, F.H.: 1980, Astrophys J. 239, 911.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Uchida, Y. and Sakurai, T.: 1983, in Activity in Red-Dwarf Stars, IAU Coll. No. 71,eds. P.B. Byrne and M. Rodonò, D.Reidei Publ.Cy., Dordrecht, Holland, p. 629.Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    Kuijpers, J. and van der Hulst, J.M.: 1985, Astron. Astrophys. 149, 343.ADSGoogle Scholar
  22. [22]
    van den Oord, G.H.J.: 1988, Astron. Astrophys. 207, 101.ADSGoogle Scholar
  23. [23]
    White, N.E., Culhane, J.L., Parmar, A.N., Kellett, B.J., Kahn, S., van den Oord,G.H.J, and Kuijpers, J.:1986, Astrophys J. 301, 262.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. [24]
    van den Oord, G.H.J., Kuijpers, J., White, N.E., van der Hulst, J.M., and Culhane,J.L.: 1989, Astron. Astrophys. 209, 296.ADSGoogle Scholar
  25. [25]
    van den Oord, G.H.J, and Mewe, R.: 1989, Astron. Astrophys. 213, 245.ADSGoogle Scholar
  26. [26]
    Vilhu, O., Caillault, J.P., Neff, J., and Heise, J.: 1988, in Activity in Cool Star Envelopes, eds. O. Havnes, B.R. Pettersen, J.H.M.M. Schmitt and J.E. Solheim, Kluwer, Dordrecht, Holland, p. 179.Google Scholar
  27. [27]
    Lamb, F.K., Aly, J., Cook, M., and Lamb, D.Q.: 1983, Astrophys J. (Letters) 274, L71.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. [28]
    Kuijpers, J.: 1989, Solar Phys. 121, 163.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. [29]
    Aly, J.J. and Kuijpers, J.: 1989, Astron. pressGoogle Scholar
  30. [30]
    de Vries, M. and Kuijpers, J.: 1989, A Magnetic Flare Model for X-Ray Variability in Active Galactic Nuclei, 23rd ESLAB Symposium, ed. N.E. White, Bologna.Google Scholar
  31. [31]
    Kovitya, P. and Cram, L.: 1983, Solar Phys. 84, 45.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. [32]
    Melrose, D.B. and McClymont, A.N.: 1987, Solar Phys. 113, 241.Google Scholar
  33. [33]
    McClymont, A.N. and Fisher, G.H.: 1989, On the Mechanical Energy Available toDrive Solar Flarespreprint.Google Scholar
  34. [34]
    Melrose, D.B.: 1989, The Energy Release in Solar Flares: a Model Involving RemoteEnergy Storage, preprint. Google Scholar
  35. [35]
    Lewin, W.H.G., van Paradijs, J. and van der Klis, M.: 1988, Space Sci. Rev. 46, 273.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. [36]
    Alfvén H. and Fälthammar, C.-G.: 1963, Cosmical Electrodynamics, 2nd ed., Oxford Univ. Press, London, p. 183.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  37. [37]
    Akasofu, S.-I: 1977, Physics of Magnetospheric Substorms, D. Reidei Publ. Cy., Dordrecht, Holland.Google Scholar
  38. [38]
    Alfvén, H.: 1981, Cosmic Plasma, D. Reidei Publ. Cy., Dordrecht, Holland.Google Scholar
  39. [39]
    Spicer, D.S.: 1982, Space Sci. Rev. 31, 351.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. [40]
    Scheurwater, R.S. and Kuperus, M.: 1988, Astron. Astrophys. 194, 213.ADSGoogle Scholar
  41. [41]
    Goldreich, P. and Lynden-Bell, D.: 1969, AstrophysJ. 156, 59.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. [42]
    Piddington, J.H. and Drake, J.F.: 1968, Nature 217, 935.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. [43]
    Chanmugan, G. and Dulk, G.A.: 1983, in Cataclysmic Variables and Related Objects,IAU Coll. No. 72, eds. M. Livio and G. Shaviv.Google Scholar
  44. [44]
    Blandford, R.D. and Znajek, R.L.: 1977, Monthly Notices Roy. Astron. Soc. 179, 433.ADSGoogle Scholar
  45. [45]
    Lovelace, R.V.E.: 1976, Nature 262, 649.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. [46]
    Thorne, K.S., Price, R.H. and MacDonald, D.A.: 1986, Black Holes: The Membrane Paradigm, Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, USA.Google Scholar
  47. [47]
    Phinney, E.S.: 1983, in Astrophysical Jets, eds. A. Ferrari and A.G. Pacholczyk, D.Reidel Publ. Cy, Dordrecht, Holland, p. 201.Google Scholar
  48. [48]
    Boström, R.: 1973, Astrophys Space Sci. 22, 353.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. [49]
    Raadu, M.A.: 1989, Physics Reports 178, 25.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. [50]
    Kuperus, M. and Raadu, M.A.: 1974, Astron. Astrophys. 31, 189.ADSGoogle Scholar
  51. [51]
    van Tend, W. and Kuperus, M.: 1978, Solar Phys. 59, 115.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. [52]
    Kaastra, J.S.: 1985, Solar Flares, An Electrodynamic Model, Ph.D. Thesis, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, Ch.4 and 5.Google Scholar
  53. [53]
    van den Oord, G.H.J.: 1987: Stellar Flares, Ph.D. Thesis, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, Ch.2.Google Scholar
  54. [54]
    Kadomtsev, B.B.: 1987, Physics Reports 50, 115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. [55]
    Petschek, H.E.: 1964, AAS-NASA Symp. on the Physics of Solar Flares, Washington,NASA SP-50, p. 425.Google Scholar
  56. [56]
    Priest, E.R.: 1982, Solar Magnetohydrodynamics, D.Reidel Publ. Cy., Dordrecht, Holland.Google Scholar
  57. [57]
    Dubois, M.A.: 1985, in Magnetic Reconnection and Turbulence, Cargèse Workshop, eds. M.A. Dubois, D. Grésillon and M.N. Bussac, Les Editions de Physique, Les Ulis, France, p. 213Google Scholar
  58. [58]
    Biskamp, D.: 1985, in Magnetic Reconnection and Turbulence, Cargèse Workshop, eds.M.A. Dubois, D. Grésillon and M.N. Bussac, Les Editions de Physique, Les Ulis, France, p. 19.Google Scholar
  59. [59]
    Rieger, E.: 1989, Solar Phys. 121, 323.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. [60]
    Vlahos, L.: 1989, Solar Phys. 121, 431.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. [61]
    Slottje, C.: 1978, Nature 275, 520.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. [62]
    Solar Radiophysics, eds. D.J. McLean and N.R. Labrum, 1985, Cambridge Univ. Press,Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  63. [63]
    Allaart, M.A.F. and van Nieuwkoop, J.: 1989, Solar Phys. submitted.Google Scholar
  64. [64]
    Melrose, D.B.: 1986, Instabilities in Space and Laboratory Plasmas, Cambridge Univ.Press, Cambridge, UK.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. [65]
    Melrose, D.B.: 1980, Plasma Astrophysics, Gordon and Breach Publ., New York.Google Scholar
  66. [66]
    Stasiewicz, K. and Hultqvist, B.: 1989, Evidence for the drift Acceleration of Auroral Electrons, preprint.Google Scholar
  67. [67]
    Holman, G.D. and Pesses, M.E.: 1983, AstrophysJ. 267, 837.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. [68]
    Webb, G.M., Axford, W.I. and Terasawa, T.: 1983, Astrophys J. 270, 537.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Achterberg, A.: 1984, in Particle Acceleration Processes, Shock Waves, Nucleosynthesis and Cosmic Rays, eds. L. Koch-Miramond and M.A. Lee, Adv. Space Res. 4, 193.Google Scholar
  70. [70]
    Jacobsen, C. and Carlqvist, P.: 1964, Icarus 3, 270.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. [71]
    Alfvén, H. and Carlqvist, P.: 1967, Solar Phys. 1, 220.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. [72]
    Torvén, S., Lindberg, L. and Carpenter, R.T.: 1985, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 27, 143.Google Scholar
  73. [73]
    Lindberg, L.: 1988, Astrophys Space Sci. 144, 3.ADSGoogle Scholar
  74. [74]
    Boström, R., Holback, B., Holmgren, G., Koskinen, H.: 1988, Physica Scripta 39, 782.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. [75]
    Hultqvist, B.: 1989, Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. London A 328, 209.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. [76]
    Raadu, M.A. and Rasmussen, J.J.: 1988, Astrophys Space Sci. 144, 43.ADSGoogle Scholar
  77. [77]
    Hénoux, J.C.: 1987, in Solar Maximum Analysis, eds. V.E. Stepanov and V.N. Obridko,VNU Science Press, Utrecht, The Netherlands, p. 105.Google Scholar
  78. [78]
    Kuijpers, J.: 1989, Coherent Radiation from Electrostatic Double Layers, in Plasma Phenomena in the Solar Atmosphere, 1989 Cargése Workshop, eds. M.A. Dubois and D. Grésillon, in press.Google Scholar
  79. [79]
    Martens, P.C.H., van den Oord, G.H.J, and Hoyng, P.: 1985, Solar Phys. 96, 253.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. [80]
    Taylor, J.B.: 1974, Phys. Rev. Lett. 33, 1139.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. [81]
    Taylor, J.B.: 1986, Rev. Modern Phys. 58, 741.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. [82]
    Woltjer, L.:1958, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 44, 489.Google Scholar
  83. [83]
    Norman, C.A. and Heyvaerts, J.: 1983, Astron. Astrophys. 124, L1.ADSGoogle Scholar
  84. [84]
    Heyvaerts, J. and Priest, E.R.: 1984, Astron. Astrophys. 137, 63.ADSGoogle Scholar
  85. [85]
    Berger, M.A. and Field, G.B.: 1984, J. Fluid Mech. 147, 133.MathSciNetADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. [86]
    Berger, M.A.: 1984, Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dynamics 30, 79.Google Scholar
  87. [87]
    Berger, M.A.: 1988, Astron. Astrophys. 201, 355.ADSzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  88. [88]
    Field, G.: 1986, in Magnetospheric Phenomena in Astrophysics, eds. R.I. Epstein and W.C. Feldman, Am. Inst, of Physics, New York, p. 324.Google Scholar
  89. [89]
    Alpar, M.A. and Shaham, J.: 1985, Nature 316, 239.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. [90]
    Vasyliunas, V.M.: 1979, Space Sci. Rev. 24, 609.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. [91]
    Ghosh, P. and Lamb, F.K.: 1978, Astrophys J. (Letters) 223, L83.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. [92]
    Ghosh, P. and Lamb, F.K.: 1979, Astrophys J. 232, 259.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. [93]
    Ghosh, P. and Lamb, F.K.: 1979, Astrophys J. 234, 296.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. 94.
    Galeev, A.A., Rosner, R. and Vaiana, G.S.: 1979, Astrophys J. 229, 318.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. [95]
    Coroniti, F.V.: 1985, in Unstable Current Systems and Plasma Instabilities in Astro physics, IAU Symp. No. 107, eds. M.R. Kundu and G.D. Holman, D. Reidei Publ Cy., Dordrecht, Holland, p. 453.Google Scholar
  96. [96]
    Lovelace, R.V.E., Wang, J.C.L. and Sulkanen, M.E.: 1987, Astrophys J. 315, 504.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. [97]
    Parker, E.N.: 1979, Cosmical Magnetic Fields, Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK.Google Scholar
  98. [98]
    Heiles, C.: 1987, in Physical Processes in Interstellar Clouds, eds. G.E. Morfill and M.Scholer, NATO ASI Series C, Vol. 210, p. 429.Google Scholar
  99. [99]
    Shakura, N.I. and Sunyaev, R.A.: 1973, Astron. Astrophys. 24, 337.ADSGoogle Scholar
  100. [100]
    Stella, L.: 1988, in X-Ray Astronomy with Exosat, eds. R. Pallavicini and N.E. White, Memoria della Societa Astronomica Italiana, 59, 185.Google Scholar
  101. [101]
    Barnes, C. and Sturrock, P.A.: 1972, Astrophys J. 176, 31.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Kuijpers
    • 1
  1. 1.Sterrekundig InstituutRijksuniversiteit UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations