Research Theme 1: Astrophysical and stellar magnetism

  • Dorch, Bertil (Project manager)
  • Nordlund, Åke (Working partner)
  • Freytag, Bernd (Working partner)
  • Archontis, V. (Working partner)
  • Gudiksen, Boris V. (Working partner)
  • Christensen, Majken Brahe Ellegaard (In charge of work packages)

Project: Research

Project Details


Astrophysical theories and magneto-hydrodynamical computer simulations are compared to astronomical observations of stars, especially dwarf stars such as The Sun and supergiants exemplified by alfa Orionis (Betelgeuse).

Key findings

Both detailed 3-dimensional magneto-hydrodynamical numerical simulations and subsequent astronomical observations have now shown that the red supergiant star Alpha Orionis aka. Betelgeuse is magnetic and likely driven by an astrophysical dynamo relying on supergranular convection flows.

Layman's description

The red star Betelegeuse also known as Orion's shoulder is magnetic due to enormous energy flows on scales larger than our Sun itself. What was first theorized in this project using computer models, was later confirmed by modern observations. Indeed, stars like Betelgeuse have spots, similar to the well-known sunspots of our own star, although Betelgeuse and the Sun are very different types of stars.
Short titleStellar magnetism
Effective start/end date10/04/2002 → …

Collaborative partners

  • University of Copenhagen (Project partner)
  • Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Project partner)
  • Uppsala University (Project partner)
  • Syddansk Universitetsbibliotek (Project partner) (lead)
  • University of St Andrews (Project partner)
  • Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy


  • Astronomy
  • Astrophysics
  • Stars
  • Dynamos
  • Betelgeuse
  • The Sun
  • Supergiants
  • Supernovae


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