202 research outputs found

    Empirical Isochrones for Low Mass Stars in Nearby Young Associations

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    Absolute ages of young stars are important for many issues in pre-main sequence stellar and circumstellar evolution but are long recognized as difficult to derive and calibrate. In this paper, we use literature spectral types and photometry to construct empirical isochrones in HR diagrams for low-mass stars and brown dwarfs in the eta Cha, epsilon Cha, and TW Hya Associations and the beta Pic and Tuc-Hor Moving Groups. A successful theory of pre-main sequence evolution should match the shapes of the stellar loci for these groups of young stars. However, when comparing the combined empirical isochrones to isochrones predicted from evolutionary models, discrepancies lead to a spectral type (mass) dependence in stellar age estimates. Improved prescriptions for convection and boundary conditions in the latest models of pre-main sequence models lead to a significantly improved correspondence between empirical and model isochrones, with small offsets at low temperatures that may be explained by observational uncertainties or by model limitations. Independent of model predictions, linear fits to combined stellar loci of these regions provide a simple empirical method to order clusters by luminosity with a reduced dependence on spectral type. Age estimates calculated from various sets of modern models that reproduce Li depletion boundary ages of the beta Pic Moving Group also imply a ~4 Myr age for the low mass members of the Upper Sco OB Association, which is younger than the 11 Myr age that has been recently estimated for intermediate mass members.Comment: Accepted by ApJ, 18 page

    An Optical Spectroscopic Study of T Tauri Stars. I. Photospheric Properties

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    Measurements of masses and ages of young stars from their location in the HR diagram are limited by not only the typical observational uncertainties that apply to field stars, but also by large systematic uncertainties related to circumstellar phenomena. In this paper, we analyze flux calibrated optical spectra to measure accurate spectral types and extinctions of 283 nearby T Tauri stars. The primary advances in this paper are (1) the incorporation of a simplistic accretion continuum in optical spectral type and extinction measurements calculated over the full optical wavelength range and (2) the uniform analysis of a large sample of stars. Comparisons between the non-accreting TTS photospheric templates and stellar photosphere models are used to derive conversions from spectral type to temperature. Differences between spectral types can be subtle and difficult to discern, especially when accounting for accretion and extinction. The spectral types measured here are mostly consistent with spectral types measured over the past decade. However, our new spectral types are 1-2 subclasses later than literature spectral types for the original members of the TWA and are discrepant with literature values for some well known Taurus CTTSs. Our extinction measurements are consistent with other optical extinction measurements but are typically 1 mag lower than nIR measurements, likely the result of methodological differences and the presence of nIR excesses in most CTTSs. As an illustration of the impact of accretion, SpT, and extinction uncertainties on the HR diagrams of young clusters, we find that the resulting luminosity spread of stars in the TWA is 15-30%. The luminosity spread in the TWA and previously measured for binary stars in Taurus suggests that for a majority of stars, protostellar accretion rates are not large enough to significantly alter the subsequent evolution.Comment: Accepted by ApJ. 30 pages plus 12 pages of Tables and Reference

    How Hot is the Wind from TW Hydrae?

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    It has recently been suggested that the winds from Classical T Tauri stars in general, and the wind from TW Hya in particular, reaches temperatures of at least 300,000 K while maintaing a mass loss rate of 1011\sim 10^{-11} \Msol yr1^{-1} or larger. If confirmed, this would place strong new requirements on wind launching and heating models. We therefore re-examine spectra from the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph aboard the Hubble Space Telescope and spectra from the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer satellite in an effort to better constrain the maximum temperature in the wind of TW Hya. We find clear evidence for a wind in the \ion{C}{2} doublet at 1037 \AA and in the \ion{C}{2} multiplet at 1335 \AA. We find no wind absorption in the \ion{C}{4} 1550 \AA doublet observed at the same time as the \ion{C}{2} 1335 \AA line or in observations of \ion{O}{6} observed simultaneously with the \ion{C}{2} 1037 \AA line. The presence or absence of \ion{C}{3} wind absorption is ambiguous. The clear lack of a wind in the \ion{C}{4} line argues that the wind from TW Hya does not reach the 100,000 K characteristic formation temperature of this line. We therefore argue that the available evidence suggests that the wind from TW Hya, and probably all classical T Tauri stars, reaches a maximum temperature in the range of 10,000 -- 30,000 K.Comment: 17 pages, 3 figures, Figure 1 in 2nd version fixes a small velocity scaling error and new revision adds a reference to an additional paper recently foun

    Continuum Variability of Deeply Embedded Protostars as a Probe of Envelope Structure

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    Stars may be assembled in large growth spurts, however the evidence for this hypothesis is circumstantial. Directly studying the accretion at the earliest phases of stellar growth is challenging because young stars are deeply embedded in optically thick envelopes, which have spectral energy distributions that peak in the far-IR, where observations are difficult. In this paper, we consider the feasibility of detecting accretion outbursts from these younger stars by investigating the timescales for how the protostellar envelope responds to changes in the emission properties of the central source. The envelope heats up in response to an outburst, brightening at all wavelengths and with the emission peak moving to shorter wavelengths. The timescale for this change depends on the time for dust grains to heat and re-emit photons and the time required for the energy to escape the inner, optically-thick portion of the envelope. We find that the dust response time is much shorter than the photon propagation time and thus the timescale over which the emission varies is set by time delays imposed by geometry. These times are hours to days near the peak of the spectral energy distribution and weeks to months in the sub-mm. The ideal location to quickly detect continuum variability is therefore in the mid- to far-IR, near the peak of the spectral energy distribution, where the change in emission amplitude is largest. Searching for variability in sub-mm continuum emission is also feasible, though with a longer time separation and a weaker relationship between the amount of detected emission amplitude and change in central source luminosity. Such observations would constrain accretion histories of protostars and would help to trace the disk/envelope instabilities that lead to stellar growth.Comment: 25 pages, 6 figures, accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journa

    CO/H2 Abundance Ratio ~ 10^{-4} in a Protoplanetary Disk

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    The relative abundances of atomic and molecular species in planet-forming disks around young stars provide important constraints on photochemical disk models and provide a baseline for calculating disk masses from measurements of trace species. A knowledge of absolute abundances, those relative to molecular hydrogen (H2), are challenging because of the weak rovibrational transition ladder of H2_{2} and the inability to spatially resolve different emission components within the circumstellar environment. To address both of these issues, we present new contemporaneous measurements of CO and H2 absorption through the "warm molecular layer" of the protoplanetary disk around the Classical T Tauri Star RW Aurigae A. We use a newly commissioned observing mode of the Hubble Space Telescope-Cosmic Origins Spectrograph to detect warm H2 absorption in this region for the first time. An analysis of the emission and absorption spectrum of RW Aur shows components from the accretion region near the stellar photosphere, the molecular disk, and several outflow components. The warm H2 and CO absorption lines are consistent with a disk origin. We model the 1092-1117A spectrum of RW Aur to derive log10 N(H2)~=~19.900.22+0.33^{+0.33}_{-0.22} at Trot_{rot}(H2) ~=~440~+/-~39 K. The CO AA~--~XX bands observed from 1410-1520A are best fit by log10 N(CO)~=~16.1~0.5+0.3^{+0.3}_{-0.5} at Trot_{rot}(CO) ~=~200125+650^{+650}_{-125} K. Combining direct measurements of the HI, H2, and CO column densities, we find a molecular fraction in the warm disk surface of fH2f_{H2}~>=~0.47 and derive a molecular abundance ratio of CO/H2~=~1.61.3+4.7^{+4.7}_{-1.3}~x~104^{-4}, both consistent with canonical interstellar dense cloud values.Comment: ApJ - accepted. 13 pages, 8 figure

    The Eruption of the Candidate Young Star ASASSN-15QI

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    Outbursts on young stars are usually interpreted as accretion bursts caused by instabilities in the disk or the star–disk connection. However, some protostellar outbursts may not fit into this framework. In this paper, we analyze optical and near-infrared spectra and photometry to characterize the 2015 outburst of the probable young star ASASSN-15qi. The ~3.5 mag brightening in the V band was sudden, with an unresolved rise time of less than one day. The outburst decayed exponentially by 1 mag for 6 days and then gradually back to the pre-outburst level after 200 days. The outburst is dominated by emission from ~10,000 K gas. An explosive release of energy accelerated matter from the star in all directions, seen in a spectacular cool, spherical wind with a maximum velocity of 1000 km s^(−1). The wind and hot gas both disappeared as the outburst faded and the source returned to its quiescent F-star spectrum. Nebulosity near the star brightened with a delay of 10–20 days. Fluorescent excitation of H2 is detected in emission from vibrational levels as high as v = 11, also with a possible time delay in flux increase. The mid-infrared spectral energy distribution does not indicate the presence of warm dust emission, though the optical photospheric absorption and CO overtone emission could be related to a gaseous disk. Archival photometry reveals a prior outburst in 1976. Although we speculate about possible causes for this outburst, none of the explanations are compelling

    How Do Stars Gain Their Mass? A JCMT/SCUBA-2 Transient Survey of Protostars in Nearby Star-forming Regions

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    Most protostars have luminosities that are fainter than expected from steady accretion over the protostellar lifetime. The solution to this problem may lie in episodic mass accretion—prolonged periods of very low accretion punctuated by short bursts of rapid accretion. However, the timescale and amplitude for variability at the protostellar phase is almost entirely unconstrained. In A James Clerk Maxwell Telescope/SCUBA-2 Transient Survey of Protostars in Nearby Star-forming Regions, we are monitoring monthly with SCUBA-2 the submillimeter emission in eight fields within nearby (<500 pc) star-forming regions to measure the accretion variability of protostars. The total survey area of ~1.6 deg^2 includes ~105 peaks with peaks brighter than 0.5 Jy/beam (43 associated with embedded protostars or disks) and 237 peaks of 0.125–0.5 Jy/beam (50 with embedded protostars or disks). Each field has enough bright peaks for flux calibration relative to other peaks in the same field, which improves upon the nominal flux calibration uncertainties of submillimeter observations to reach a precision of ~2%–3% rms, and also provides quantified confidence in any measured variability. The timescales and amplitudes of any submillimeter variation will then be converted into variations in accretion rate and subsequently used to infer the physical causes of the variability. This survey is the first dedicated survey for submillimeter variability and complements other transient surveys at optical and near-IR wavelengths, which are not sensitive to accretion variability of deeply embedded protostars

    Velocity-Resolved [Ne III] from X-Ray Irradiated Sz 102 Microjets

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    Neon emission lines are good indicators of high-excitation regions close to a young stellar system because of their high ionization potentials and large critical densities. We have discovered [Ne III]{\lambda}3869 emission from the microjets of Sz 102, a low-mass young star in Lupus III. Spectroastrometric analyses of two-dimensional [Ne III] spectra obtained from archival high-dispersion (R33,000R\approx 33,000) Very Large Telescope/UVES data suggest that the emission consists of two velocity components spatially separated by ~ 0."3, or a projected distance of ~ 60 AU. The stronger redshifted component is centered at ~ +21 km/s with a line width of ~ 140 km/s, and the weaker blueshifted component at ~ -90 km/s with a line width of ~ 190 km/s. The two components trace velocity centroids of the known microjets and show large line widths that extend across the systemic velocity, suggesting their potential origins in wide-angle winds that may eventually collimate into jets. Optical line ratios indicate that the microjets are hot (T1.6×104T\lesssim1.6\times10^4 K) and ionized (ne5.7×104n_e\gtrsim5.7\times10^4 cm3^{-3}). The blueshifted component has ~ 13% higher temperature and ~ 46% higher electron density than the redshifted counterpart, forming a system of asymmetric pair of jets. The detection of the [Ne III]{\lambda}3869 line with the distinct velocity profile suggests that the emission originates in flows that may have been strongly ionized by deeply embedded hard X-ray sources, most likely generated by magnetic processes. The discovery of [Ne III]{\lambda}3869 emission along with other optical forbidden lines from Sz 102 support the picture of wide-angle winds surrounding magnetic loops in the close vicinity of the young star. Future high sensitivity X-ray imaging and high angular-resolution optical spectroscopy may help confirm the picture proposed.Comment: 33 pages, 9 figures, 2 tables; accepted for publication in the ApJ (minor typo and reference list fixed
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