50 research outputs found

    Pulsed Accretion in the T Tauri Binary TWA 3A

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    TWA 3A is the most recent addition to a small group of young binary systems that both actively accrete from a circumbinary disk and have spectroscopic orbital solutions. As such, it provides a unique opportunity to test binary accretion theory in a well-constrained setting. To examine TWA 3A's time-variable accretion behavior, we have conducted a two-year, optical photometric monitoring campaign, obtaining dense orbital phase coverage (~20 observations per orbit) for ~15 orbital periods. From U-band measurements we derive the time-dependent binary mass accretion rate, finding bursts of accretion near each periastron passage. On average, these enhanced accretion events evolve over orbital phases 0.85 to 1.05, reaching their peak at periastron. The specific accretion rate increases above the quiescent value by a factor of ~4 on average but the peak can be as high as an order of magnitude in a given orbit. The phase dependence and amplitude of TWA 3A accretion is in good agreement with numerical simulations of binary accretion with similar orbital parameters. In these simulations, periastron accretion bursts are fueled by periodic streams of material from the circumbinary disk that are driven by the binary orbit. We find that TWA 3A's average accretion behavior is remarkably similar to DQ Tau, another T Tauri binary with similar orbital parameters, but with significantly less variability from orbit to orbit. This is only the second clear case of orbital-phase-dependent accretion in a T Tauri binary.Comment: 6 pages, 4 figure

    X-Ray Grating Observations of Recurrent Nova T Pyxidis During The 2011 Outburst

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    The recurrent nova T Pyx was observed with the X-ray gratings of Chandra and XMM-Newton, 210 and 235 days, respectively, after the discovery of the 2011 April 14 outburst. The X-ray spectra show prominent emission lines of C, N, and O, with broadening corresponding to a full width at half maximum of ~2000-3000 km/s, and line ratios consistent with high-density plasma in collisional ionization equilibrium. On day 210 we also measured soft X-ray continuum emission that appears to be consistent with a white dwarf (WD) atmosphere at a temperature ~420,000 K, partially obscured by anisotropic, optically thick ejecta. The X-ray continuum emission is modulated with the photometric and spectroscopic period observed in quiescence. The continuum at day 235 indicated a WD atmosphere at a consistent effective temperature of 25 days earlier, but with a lower flux. The effective temperature indicates a mass of ~1 solar mass. The conclusion of partial WD obscuration is supported by the complex geometry of non-spherically-symmetric ejecta confirmed in recent optical spectra obtained with the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in November and December of 2012. These spectra exhibited prominent [O III] nebular lines with velocity structures typical of bipolar ejecta.Comment: Accepted to ApJ 2013 October 23, 14 pages, 9 figures, 3 table

    SPYGLASS. II. The Multi-Generational and Multi-Origin Star Formation History of Cepheus Far North

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    Young stellar populations provide a record of past star formation, and by establishing their members' dynamics and ages, it is possible to reconstruct the full history of star formation events. Gaia has greatly expanded the number of accessible stellar populations, with one of the most notable recently-discovered associations being Cepheus Far North (CFN), a population containing hundreds of members spanning over 100 pc. With its proximity (d ≲\lesssim 200 pc), apparent substructure, and relatively small population, CFN represents a manageable population to study in depth, with enough evidence of internal complexity to produce a compelling star formation story. Using Gaia astrometry and photometry combined with additional spectroscopic observations, we identify over 500 candidate CFN members spread across 7 subgroups. Combining ages from isochrones, asteroseismology, dynamics, and lithium depletion, we produce well-constrained ages for all seven subgroups, revealing a largely continuous 10 Myr star formation history in the association. By tracing back the present-day populations to the time of their formation, we identify two spatially and dynamically distinct nodes in which stars form, one associated with β\beta Cephei which shows mostly co-spatial formation, and one associated with EE Draconis with a more dispersed star formation history. This detailed view of star formation demonstrates the complexity of the star formation process, even in the smallest of regions.Comment: Accepted to ApJ; 34 pages, 15 figures, 6 tables in two-column AASTEX63 forma

    Correlating Changes in Spot Filling Factors with Stellar Rotation: The Case of LkCa 4

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    We present a multi-epoch spectroscopic study of LkCa 4, a heavily spotted non-accreting T Tauri star. Using SpeX at NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF), 12 spectra were collected over five consecutive nights, spanning ≈\approx 1.5 stellar rotations. Using the IRTF SpeX Spectral Library, we constructed empirical composite models of spotted stars by combining a warmer (photosphere) standard star spectrum with a cooler (spot) standard weighted by the spot filling factor, fspotf_{spot}. The best-fit models spanned two photospheric component temperatures, TphotT_{phot} = 4100 K (K7V) and 4400 K (K5V), and one spot component temperature, TspotT_{spot} = 3060 K (M5V) with an AVA_V of 0.3. We find values of fspotf_{spot} to vary between 0.77 and 0.94 with an average uncertainty of ∼\sim0.04. The variability of fspotf_{spot} is periodic and correlates with its 3.374 day rotational period. Using a mean value for fspotmeanf^{mean}_{spot} to represent the total spot coverage, we calculated spot corrected values for TeffT_{eff} and L⋆L_\star. Placing these values alongside evolutionary models developed for heavily spotted young stars, we infer mass and age ranges of 0.45-0.6 M⊙M_\odot and 0.50-1.25 Myr, respectively. These inferred values represent a twofold increase in the mass and a twofold decrease in the age as compared to standard evolutionary models. Such a result highlights the need for constraining the contributions of cool and warm regions of young stellar atmospheres when estimating TeffT_{eff} and L⋆L_\star to infer masses and ages as well as the necessity for models to account for the effects of these regions on the early evolution of low-mass stars.Comment: 21 pages, 9 Figures; Accepted for publication in Ap

    A Lithium Depletion Age for the Carina Association

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    The dispersed remnants of stellar nurseries, stellar associations provide unparalleled samples of coeval stars critical for studies of stellar and planetary formation and evolution. The Carina Stellar Association is one of the closest stellar associations to Earth, and yet measurements of its age have varied from 13 to 45 Myr. We aim to update the age of Carina using the Lithium Depletion Boundary method. We obtain new measurements of the Li 6708 Angstrom, absorption feature in likely members using optical spectra from the Goodman HTS on SOAR and NRES on LCO. We detect the depletion boundary at M_K ~= 6.8 (M5), which corresponds to an age of 41(+3,-5) Myr. The age is consistent within uncertainties across six different models, including those that account for magnetic fields and spots. We also estimate the age through analysis of the group's overall variability, and by comparing the association members' CMD to stellar evolutionary models using a Gaussian Mixture Model, recovering ages consistent with the LDB. The resulting age agrees with the older end of previous age measurements and is consistent with the lithium depletion age for the neighboring Tucana-Horologium Moving Group.Comment: 9 pages, 6 figures, accepted to AJ on 10/17/202