Giant Protostellar Flares: Accretion-driven Accumulation and Reconnection-driven Ejection of Magnetic Flux in Protostars

Shinsuke Takasao, Kengo Tomida, Kazunari Iwasaki, Takeru K. Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Protostellar flares are rapid magnetic energy release events associated with the formation of hot plasma in protostars. In the previous models of protostellar flares, the interaction between a protostellar magnetosphere with the surrounding disk plays crucial role in building-up and releasing the magnetic energy. However, it remains unclear if protostars indeed have magnetospheres because vigorous disk accretion and strong disk magnetic fields in the protostellar phase may destroy the magnetosphere. Considering this possibility, we investigate the energy accumulation and release processes in the absence of a magnetosphere using a three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic simulation. Our simulation reveals that protostellar flares are repeatedly produced even in such a case. Unlike in the magnetospheric models, the protostar accumulates magnetic energy by acquiring large-scale magnetic fields from the disk by accretion. Protostellar flares occur when a portion of the large-scale magnetic fields are removed from the protostar as a result of magnetic reconnection. Protostellar flares in the simulation are consistent with observations; the released magnetic energy (up to ∼3 1038 erg) is large enough to drive observed flares, and the flares produce hot ejecta. The expelled magnetic fields enhance accretion, and the energy build-up and release processes are repeated as a result. The magnetic flux removal via reconnection leads to redistribution of magnetic fields in the inner disk. We therefore consider that protostellar flares will play an important role in the evolution of the disk magnetic fields in the vicinity of protostars.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL10
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 10


  • accretion, accretion disks
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • stars: pre-main sequence
  • stars: protostars


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