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Astron. Astrophys. 335, 248-254 (1998)

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On the problem of very energetic flares in binary systems

J.M. Ferreira

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews KY16 9SS, Scotland, UK

Received 18 October 1997 / Accepted 25 March 1998


Observations of several RS CVn and other late-type binary systems have revealed the occurrence of extremely energetic flares ranging from [FORMULA] up to [FORMULA]. The energy of these flares has commonly been explained by the presence of a filament that can, due to the binary nature of the system, store much more energy than a filament on a single star for the same surface field strength.

Here, we show that this explanation is based on an unphysical model and we briefly analyse different mechanisms that could in principle account for these flares. Following previous authors, we suggest that either the flares are scaled-up versions of solar type flares due to a larger amount of magnetic flux involved in the eruption, or they are resultant from the interaction between the magnetospheres of the two stars.

Key words: stars: binaries: close – stars: activity – stars: flare – stars: magnetic fields

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: June 12, 1998