Modeling surface magnetic fields in stars with radiative envelopes

Stars with radiative envelopes, specifically the upper main sequence chemically peculiar (Ap) stars, were among the first objects outside our solar system for which surface magnetic fields have been detected. Currently magnetic Ap stars remains the only class of stars for which high-resolution measurements of both linear and circular polarization in individual spectral lines are feasible. Consequently, these stars provide unique opportunities to study the physics of polarized radiative transfer in stellar atmospheres, to analyze in detail stellar magnetic field topologies and their relation to starspots, and to test different methodologies of stellar magnetic field mapping. Here I present an overview of different approaches to modeling the surface fields in magnetic A- and B-type stars. In particular, I summarize the ongoing efforts to interpret high-resolution full Stokes vector spectra of these stars using magnetic Doppler imaging. These studies reveal an unexpected complexity of the magnetic field geometries in some Ap stars.

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Date added: Fri, 11 Oct 13