Context. The Taurus-Auriga star-forming complex hosts the only population of T Tauri stars in which an anticorrelation of X-ray activity and rotation period has been observed. Aims. We aim to explain the origin of the X-ray activity–rotation relation in Taurus-Auriga. We also aim to put the X-ray activity of these stars into the context of the activity of late-type main-sequence stars and T Tauri stars in the Orion Nebula Cluster. Methods. We have used XMM-Newton’s European Photon Imaging Cameras to perform the most sensitive survey to date of X-ray emission (0.3-10 keV) from young stars in Taurus-Auriga. We investigated the dependences of X-ray activity measures – X-ray luminosity, LX, its ratio with the stellar luminosity, LX/L⋆, and the surface-averaged X-ray flux, FXS – on rotation period and compared them with predictions based solely on the observed dependence of LX on a star’s L ⋆ and whether it is accreting or not. We tested fo
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