The study of the processes governing the end of the life of Sun-like stars are of fundamental importance. During the final stages of their lives, stars expel vast amounts of dust and molecules into the interstellar space. This material is a main sources of the heavy elements essential for further formation of stars and planets. There are also hints that formation of large dust particles is taking place around these dying stars. Our current understanding of the mass-loss process is still incomplete. There are indications of a missing component necessary to drive and shape mass-loss, and magnetism is a possible candidate. However, magnetic fields are yet little studied and are often ignored. This will change with the new and improved instruments, such as ALMA, as observations of magnetic fields (through polarization) will enter a new era. Additionally, theoretical work will experience a similar advance. In this research project, observations and theory will be united to study the effects of magnetic fields on stellar mass-loss. Models will be constrained by our unique observations, and will drive the research field. Additionally, the same polarization observations are used to study the growth of dust particles during the final stages of a stars life. The research project will thus provide unique insights in potential planet formation around dying stars and will provide the definitive answer on the role of magnetic fields in the mass-loss process of evolved Sun-like stars.
Professor vid Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Astronomy and Plasmaphysics
Funding years 2014–2017