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Astron. Astrophys. 360, 1031-1042 (2000)

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The response of an accretion disc to an inclined dipole with application to AA Tauri

C. Terquem 1,2,3 and J.C.B. Papaloizou 4

1 Institut d'Atrophysique de Paris, 98 bis Boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France (terquem@iap.fr)
2 Université Denis Diderot-Paris VII, 2 Place Jussieu, 75251 Paris Cedex 5, France
3 Laboratoire d'Astrophysique, Observatoire de Grenoble, B.P. 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France
4 Astronomy Unit, School of Mathematical Sciences, Queen Mary and Westfield College, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK (J.C.B.Papaloizou@maths.qmw.ac.uk)

Received 14 March 2000 / Accepted 6 June 2000


We compute the warping of a disc induced by an inclined dipole. We consider a magnetised star surrounded by a thin Keplerian diamagnetic disc with an inner edge that corotates with the star. We suppose the stellar field is a dipole with an axis that is slightly misaligned with the stellar rotation axis. The rotation axes of the disc material orbiting at large distances from the star and that of the star are supposed to coincide. The misalignment of the magnetic and rotation axes results in the magnetic pressure not being the same on the upper and lower surfaces of the disc. The resultant net vertical force produces a warp which appears stationary in a frame corotating with the star. We find that, if viscosity is large enough ([FORMULA]-0.1) to damp bending waves as they propagate away, a smoothly varying warp of the inner region of the disc is produced. The amplitude of the warp can easily be on the order of ten percent of the disc inner radius for reasonably small misalignment angles (less than 30 degrees). Viscous damping also introduces a phase shift between the warp and the forcing torque, which results in the locations of maximum elevation above the disc forming a trailing spiral pattern. We apply these results to recent observations of AA Tau, and show that the variability of its light curve, which occurs with a period comparable to the expected stellar rotation period, could be due to obscuration produced by a warp configuration of the type we obtain.

Key words: accretion, accretion disks – Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) – stars: individual: AA Tau – stars: magnetic fields – stars: pre-main sequence

Send offprint requests to: C. Terquem

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: August 23, 2000