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Multi-scale magnetic field investigation of the M-dwarf eclipsing binary CU Cancri

A. HahlinO. KochukhovA.D. Rains ...+3 K. Stassun
Feb 2024
We aim to characterise the magnetic field of the eclipsing binary CU Cnc. The determination of magnetic field parameters of this target enables comparisons with both observations of similar stars and theoretical predictions of the magnetic field strength for CU Cnc. The target is therefore providing an excellent opportunity to test our understanding of the generation of magnetic fields in low-mass stars and its impact on stellar structure. We use spectropolarimetric observations obtained with ESPaDOnS to investigate the magnetic properties of CU Cnc. We generate average line profiles with LSD, which are used to extract information about the radial velocities of the components, expanding the number of radial velocity measurements available and allowing for a determination of orbital parameters. Stokes V LSD profiles are used with ZDI to obtain large-scale magnetic field structures on both components. We also use polarised radiative transfer modelling to investigate the small-scale fields by utilising Zeeman splitting of magnetically sensitive Ti I lines in non-polarised spectra. The large-scale fields are dominantly poloidal and have an average strength of ~100 G on both components. This analysis of the large-scale fields likely suffers from some amount of hemisphere degeneracy due to the high inclination of the target. Both components also show unusual magnetic field configurations compared to stars with similar parameters, the primary is weakly axisymmetric (~10%) and the secondary has a strong torroidal contribution (~20%). The small-scale fields are significantly stronger, at 3.1 and 3.6 kG for the primary and secondary respectively. This measurement is in excellent agreement with surface field strength predictions for CU Cnc from magnetoconvective stellar evolution models. These results indicates that magnetic fields play a significant role in radius inflation of active stars.
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