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  1. Context. The equatorial accretion scenario, caused by the development of the Rayleigh-Taylor (RT) instability at the disk edge, was suggested by accurate three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) modelling, but no observational or experimental confirmation of such phenomena has been evidenced yet. Aims. We studied the propagation of a laterally extended laser-generated plasma stream across a magnetic field and investigated if this kind of structure can be scaled to the case of equatorial ‘tongue’ accretion channels in young stellar objects (YSOs); if so, this would support the possibility of equatorial accretion in young accreting stars. Methods. We conducted a scaled laboratory experiment at the PEARL laser facility. The experiment consists in an optical laser pulse that is focused onto the surface of a Teflon target. The irradiation of the target leads to the expansion of a hot plasma stream into the vacuum, perpendicularly to an externally applied magnetic field. We used a Mach-Zehnder interferometer to diagnose the plasma stream propagation along two axes, to obtain the three-dimensional distribution of the plasma stream. Results. The laboratory experiment shows the propagation of a laterally extended laser-generated plasma stream across a magnetic field. We demonstrate that: (i) such a stream is subject to the development ofmore »the RT instability, and (ii) the stream, decomposed into tongues, is able to efficiently propagate perpendicular to the magnetic field. Based on numerical simulations, we show that the origin of the development of the instability in the laboratory is similar to that observed in MHD models of equatorial tongue accretion in YSOs. Conclusions. As we verify that the laboratory plasma scales favourably to accretion inflows of YSOs, our laboratory results support the argument in favour of the possibility of the RT-instability-caused equatorial tongue accretion scenario in the astrophysical case.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  2. Chromospheric Ca II activity cycles are frequently found in late-type stars, but no systematic programs have been created to search for their coronal X-ray counterparts. The typical time scale of Ca II activity cycles ranges from years to decades. Therefore, long-lasting missions are needed to detect the coronal counterparts. The XMM-Newton satellite has so far detected X-ray cycles in five stars. A particularly intriguing question is at what age (and at what activity level) X-ray cycles set in. To this end, in 2015 we started the X-ray monitoring of the young solar-like star ɛ Eridani, previously observed on two occasions: in 2003 and in early 2015, both by XMM-Newton . With an age of 440 Myr, it is one of the youngest solar-like stars with a known chromospheric Ca II cycle. We collected the most recent Mount Wilson S-index data available for ɛ Eridani, starting from 2002, including previously unpublished data. We found that the Ca II cycle lasts 2.92 ± 0.02 yr, in agreement with past results. From the long-term XMM-Newton lightcurve, we find clear and systematic X-ray variability of our target, consistent with the chromospheric Ca II cycle. The average X-ray luminosity is 2 × 10 28 ergmore »s −1 , with an amplitude that is only a factor of 2 throughout the cycle. We apply a new method to describe the evolution of the coronal emission measure distribution of ɛ Eridani in terms of solar magnetic structures: active regions, cores of active regions, and flares covering the stellar surface at varying filling fractions. Combinations of these three types of magnetic structures can only describe the observed X-ray emission measure of ɛ Eridani if the solar flare emission measure distribution is restricted to events in the decay phase. The interpretation is that flares in the corona of ɛ Eridani last longer than their solar counterparts. We ascribe this to the lower metallicity of ɛ Eridani. Our analysis also revealed that the X-ray cycle of ɛ Eridani is strongly dominated by cores of active regions. The coverage fraction of cores throughout the cycle changes by the same factor as the X-ray luminosity. The maxima of the cycle are characterized by a high percentage of covering fraction of the flares, consistent with the fact that flaring events are seen in the corresponding short-term X-ray lightcurves predominately at the cycle maxima. The high X-ray emission throughout the cycle of ɛ Eridani is thus explained by the high percentage of magnetic structures on its surface.« less