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  1. Abstract

    Earth’s magnetic field was in a highly unusual state when macroscopic animals of the Ediacara Fauna diversified and thrived. Any connection between these events is tantalizing but unclear. Here, we present single crystal paleointensity data from 2054 and 591 Ma pyroxenites and gabbros that define a dramatic intensity decline, from a strong Proterozoic field like that of today, to an Ediacaran value 30 times weaker. The latter is the weakest time-averaged value known to date and together with other robust paleointensity estimates indicate that Ediacaran ultra-low field strengths lasted for at least 26 million years. This interval of ultra-weak magnetic fields overlaps temporally with atmospheric and oceanic oxygenation inferred from numerous geochemical proxies. This concurrence raises the question of whether enhanced H ion loss in a reduced magnetic field contributed to the oxygenation, ultimately allowing diversification of macroscopic and mobile animals of the Ediacara Fauna.

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    The spin evolution of main-sequence stars has long been of interest for basic stellar evolution, stellar ageing, stellar activity, and consequent influence on companion planets. Observations of older-than-solar late-type main-sequence stars have been interpreted to imply that a change from a dipole-dominated magnetic field to one with more prominent higher multipoles might be necessary to account for the data. The spin-down models that lead to this inference are essentially tuned to the Sun. Here, we take a different approach that considers individual stars as fixed points rather than just the Sun. We use a time-dependent theoretical model to solve for the spin evolution of low-mass main-sequence stars that includes a Parker-type wind and a time-evolving magnetic field coupled to the spin. Because the wind is exponentially sensitive to the stellar mass over radius and the coronal base temperature, the use of each observed star as a separate fixed point is more appropriate and, in turn, produces a set of solution curves that produces a solution envelope rather than a simple line. This envelope of solution curves, unlike a single line fit, is consistent with the data and does not unambiguously require a modal transition in the magnetic field to explain it.

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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024

    It has long been speculated that jet feedback from accretion on to the companion during a common envelope (CE) event could affect the orbital evolution and envelope unbinding process. We present global 3D hydrodynamical simulations of CE evolution (CEE) that include a jet subgrid model and compare them with an otherwise identical model without a jet. Our binary consists of a 2-M⊙ red giant branch primary and a 1- or 0.5-M⊙ main sequence (MS) or white dwarf (WD) secondary companion modelled as a point particle. We run the simulations for 10 orbits (40 d). Our jet model adds mass at a constant rate $\dot{M}_\mathrm{j}$ of the order of the Eddington rate, with maximum velocity vj of the order of the escape speed, to two spherical sectors with the jet axis perpendicular to the orbital plane. We explore the influence of the jet on orbital evolution, envelope morphology and envelope unbinding, and assess the dependence of the results on the jet mass-loss rate, launch speed, companion mass, opening angle, and accretion rate. In line with our theoretical estimates, jets are choked around the time of first periastron passage and remain choked thereafter. Subsequent to choking, but not before, jets efficiently transfer energy to bound envelope material. This leads to increases in unbound mass of up to $\sim 10{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$, as compared to the simulations without jets. We also estimate the cumulative effects of jets over a full CE phase, finding that jets launched by MS and WD companions are unlikely to dominate envelope unbinding.

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  5. ABSTRACT The shear-current effect (SCE) of mean-field dynamo theory refers to the combination of a shear flow and a turbulent coefficient β21 with a favourable negative sign for exponential mean-field growth, rather than positive for diffusion. There have been long-standing disagreements among theoretical calculations and comparisons of theory with numerical experiments as to the sign of kinetic ($\beta ^u_{21}$) and magnetic ($\beta ^b_{21}$) contributions. To resolve these discrepancies, we combine an analytical approach with simulations, and show that unlike $\beta ^b_{21}$, the kinetic SCE $\beta ^u_{21}$ has a strong dependence on the kinetic energy spectral index and can transit from positive to negative values at $\mathcal {O}(10)$ Reynolds numbers if the spectrum is not too steep. Conversely, $\beta ^b_{21}$ is always negative regardless of the spectral index and Reynolds numbers. For very steep energy spectra, the positive $\beta ^u_{21}$ can dominate even at energy equipartition urms ≃ brms, resulting in a positive total β21 even though $\beta ^b_{21}\lt 0$. Our findings bridge the gap between the seemingly contradictory results from the second-order-correlation approximation versus the spectral-τ closure, for which opposite signs for $\beta ^u_{21}$ have been reported, with the same sign for $\beta ^b_{21}\lt 0$. The results also offer an explanation for the simulations that find $\beta ^u_{21}\gt 0$ and an inconclusive overall sign of β21 for $\mathcal {O}(10)$ Reynolds numbers. The transient behaviour of $\beta ^u_{21}$ is demonstrated using the kinematic test-field method. We compute dynamo growth rates for cases with or without rotation, and discuss opportunities for further work. 
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  6. ABSTRACT Despite spatial and temporal fluctuations in turbulent astrophysical systems, mean-field theories can be used to describe their secular evolution. However, observations taken over time scales much shorter than dynamical time scales capture a system in a single state of its turbulence ensemble. Comparing with mean-field theory can falsify the latter only if the theory is additionally supplied with a quantified precision. The central limit theorem provides appropriate estimates to the precision only when fluctuations contribute linearly to an observable and with constant coherent scales. Here, we introduce an error propagation formula that relaxes both limitations, allowing for non-linear functional forms of observables and inhomogeneous coherent scales and amplitudes of fluctuations. The method is exemplified in the context of accretion disc theories, where inhomogeneous fluctuations in the surface temperature are propagated to the disc emission spectrum – the latter being a non-linear and non-local function of the former. The derived precision depends non-monotonically on emission frequency. Using the same method, we investigate how binned spectral fluctuations in telescope data change with the spectral resolving power. We discuss the broader implications for falsifiability of a mean-field theory. 
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  7. ABSTRACT Magnetic fields provide an important probe of the thermal, material, and structural history of planetary and sub-planetary bodies. Core dynamos are a potential source of magnetic fields for differentiated bodies, but evidence of magnetization in undifferentiated bodies requires a different mechanism. Here, we study the amplified field provided by the stellar wind to an initially unmagnetized body using analytic theory and numerical simulations, employing the resistive magnetohydrodynamic AstroBEAR adaptive mesh refinement multiphysics code. We obtain a broadly applicable scaling relation for the peak magnetization achieved once a wind advects, piles-up, and drapes a body with magnetic field, reaching a quasi-steady state. We find that the dayside magnetic field for a sufficiently conductive body saturates when it balances the sum of incoming solar wind ram, magnetic, and thermal pressures. Stronger amplification results from pile-up by denser and faster winds. Careful quantification of numerical diffusivity is required for accurately interpreting the peak magnetic field strength from simulations, and corroborating with theory. As specifically applied to the Solar system, we find that early solar wind-induced field amplification is a viable source of magnetization for observed paleointensities in meteorites from some undifferentiated bodies. This mechanism may also be applicable to other Solar system bodies, including metal-rich bodies to be visited in future space missions such as the asteroid (16) Psyche. 
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    The role of charge exchange in shaping exoplanet photoevaporation remains a topic of contention. Exchange of electrons between stellar wind protons from the exoplanet’s host star and neutral hydrogen from the planet’s wind has been proposed as a mechanism to create ‘energetic neutral atoms’ (ENAs), which could explain the high absorption line velocities observed in systems where mass-loss is occurring. In this paper, we present results from three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations of the mass-loss of a planet similar to HD 209458b. We self-consistently launch a planetary wind by calculating the ionization and heating resulting from incident high-energy radiation, inject a stellar wind into the simulation, and allow electron exchange between the stellar and planetary winds. We predict the potential production of ENAs by the wind–wind interaction analytically, and then present the results of our simulations, which confirm the analytic limits. Within the limits of our hydrodynamic simulation, we find that charge exchange with the stellar wind properties examined here is unable to explain the absorption observed at high Doppler velocities.

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