Presupernova evolution of differentially rotating massive stars including magnetic fields

A. Heger, S. E. Woosley, H. C. Spruit

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As a massive star evolves through multiple stages of nuclear burning on its way to becoming a supernova, a complex, differentially rotating structure is set up. Angular momentum is transported by a variety of classic instabilities and also by magnetic torques from fields generated by the differential rotation. We present the first stellar evolution calculations to follow the evolution of rotating massive stars including, at least approximately, all these effects, magnetic and nonmagnetic, from the zero-age main sequence until the onset of iron-core collapse. The evolution and action of the magnetic fields is as described by Spruit in 2002, and a range of uncertain parameters is explored. In general, we find that magnetic torques decrease the final rotation rate of the collapsing iron core by about a factor of 30-50 when compared with the nonmagnetic counterparts. Angular momentum in that part of the presupernova star destined to become a neutron star is an increasing function of main-sequence mass. That is, pulsars derived from more massive stars rotate faster and rotation plays a more important role in the star's explosion. The final angular momentum of the core has been determined - to within a factor of 2 - by the time the star ignites carbon burning. For the lighter stars studied, around 15 M, we predict pulsar periods at birth near 15 ms, though a factor of 2 range is easily tolerated by the uncertainties. Several mechanisms for additional braking in a young neutron star, especially by fallback, are explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-363
Number of pages14
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Pulsars: general
  • Stars: evolution
  • Stars: magnetic fields
  • Stars: rotation

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