939 research outputs found

    EChO spectra and stellar activity II. The case of dM stars

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    EChO is a dedicated mission to investigate exoplanetary atmospheres. When extracting the planetary signal, one has to take care of the variability of the hosting star, which introduces spectral distortion that can be mistaken as planetary signal. Magnetic variability is a major deal in particular for M stars. To this purpose, assuming a one spot dominant model for the stellar photosphere, we develop a mixed observational-theoretical tool to extract the spot's parameters from the observed optical spectrum. This method relies on a robust library of spectral M templates, which we derive using the observed spectra of quiet M dwarfs in the SDSS database. Our procedure allows to correct the observed spectra for photospheric activity in most of the analyzed cases, reducing the spectral distortion down to the noise levels. Ongoing refinements of the template library and the algorithm will improve the efficiency of our algorithm.Comment: Submitted to Experimental Astronom

    Time evolution of X-ray coronal activity in PMS stars; a possible relation with the evolution of accretion disks

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    We investigate the evolution of X-ray stellar activity from the age of the youngest known star forming regions (SFR), < 1Myr, to about 100 Myr, i.e. the zero age main sequence (ZAMS) for a ~ 1M_sun star. We consider five SFR of varying age (Rho Ophiuchi, the Orion Nebula Cluster, NGC 2264, Chamaeleon I, and Eta Chamaeleontis) and two young clusters (the Pleiades and NGC 2516). Optical and X-ray data for these regions are retrieved both from archival observations and recent literature, and reanalyzed here in a consistent manner so to minimize systematic differences in the results. We study trends of L_X and L_X/L_bol as a function of stellar mass and association age. For low mass stars (M < 1M_sun) we observe an increase in L_X/L_bol in the first 3-4 Myr and a subsequent leveling off at the saturation level (L_X/L_bol ~ -3). Slowly evolving very low mass stars then retain saturated levels down to the oldest ages here considered, while for higher mass stars activity begins to decline at some age after ~10^7 years. We find our data consistent with the following tentative picture: low mass PMS stars with no circumstellar accretion disk have saturated activity, consistently with the activity-Rossby number relation derived for MS stars. Accretion and/or the presence of disks somehow lowers the observed activity levels; disk dissipation and/or the decrease of mass accretion rate in the first few Myrs of PMS evolution is therefore responsible for the observed increase of L_X/L_bol with time.Comment: 17 pages, 8 figures, accepted for publication in A&

    Simbol-X capability of detecting the non-thermal emission of stellar flares

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    We investigate the capability of detecting, with Simbol-X, non-thermal emission during stellar flares, and distinguishing it from hot thermal emission. We find that flare non-thermal emission is detectable when at least ~20 cts are detected with the CZT detector in the 20-80 keV band. Therefore Simbol-X will detect the non-thermal emission from some of the X-ray brightest nearby stars, whether the thermal vs. non-thermal relation, derived for solar flares, holds.Comment: 2 pages, 2 postscript figures, proceedings of the workshop "Simbol-X: the hard X-ray universe in focus", to be published in "Memorie of the Italian Astronomical Society

    A Chandra X-ray study of the young star cluster NGC 6231: low-mass population and initial mass function

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    NGC6231 is a massive young star cluster, near the center of the Sco OB1 association. While its OB members are well studied, its low-mass population has received little attention. We present high-spatial resolution Chandra ACIS-I X-ray data, where we detect 1613 point X-ray sources. Our main aim is to clarify global properties of NGC6231 down to low masses through a detailed membership assessment, and to study the cluster stars' spatial distribution, the origin of their X-ray emission, the cluster age and formation history, and initial mass function. We use X-ray data, complemented by optical/IR data, to establish cluster membership. The spatial distribution of different stellar subgroups also provides highly significant constraints on cluster membership, as does the distribution of X-ray hardness. We perform spectral modeling of group-stacked X-ray source spectra. We find a large cluster population down to ~0.3 Msun (complete to ~1 Msun), with minimal non-member contamination, with a definite age spread (1-8 Myrs) for the low-mass PMS stars. We argue that low-mass cluster stars also constitute the majority of the few hundreds unidentified X-ray sources. We find mass segregation for the most massive stars. The fraction of circumstellar-disk bearing members is found to be ~5%. Photoevaporation of disks under the action of massive stars is suggested by the spatial distribution of the IR-excess stars. We also find strong Halpha emission in 9% of cluster PMS stars. The dependence of X-ray properties on mass, stellar structure, and age agrees with extrapolations based on other young clusters. The cluster initial mass function, computed over ~2 dex in mass, has a slope Gamma~-1.14. The total mass of cluster members above 1 Msun is 2280 Msun, and the inferred total mass is 4380 Msun. We also study the peculiar, hard X-ray spectrum of the Wolf-Rayet star WR79.Comment: 25 pages, 36 figures, accepted for publication on Astronomy and Astrophysic

    Effects of XUV radiation on circumbinary planets

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    Several circumbinary planets have recently been discovered. The orbit of a planet around a binary stellar system poses several dynamic constraints. The effects that radiation from the host stars may have on the planet atmospheres must be considered. Because of the configuration of a close binary system, these stars have a high rotation rate, which causes a permanent state of high stellar activity and copious XUV radiation. The accumulated effects are stronger than for exoplanets around single stars, and cause a faster evaporation of their atmospheres. We evaluate the effects that stellar radiation has on the evaporation of exoplanets around binary systems and on the survival of these planets. We considered the XUV spectral range to account for the photons that are easily absorbed by a planet atmosphere that is mainly composed of hydrogen. A more complex atmospheric composition is expected to absorb this radiation more efficiently. We used direct X-ray observations to evaluate the energy in the X-rays range and coronal models to calculate the (nondetectable) EUV part of the spectrum. The simulations show that exoplanets in a close orbit will suffer strong photoevaporation that may cause a total loss of atmosphere in a short time. A binary system of two solar-like stars will be highly efficient in evaporating the atmosphere of the planet. These systems will be difficult to find, even if they are dynamically stable. Still, planets may orbit around binary systems of low mass stars for wider orbits. Currently known circumbinary planets are not substantially affected by thermal photoevaporation processes, unless Kepler-47 b has an inflated atmosphere. The distribution of the orbital periods of circumbinary planets is shifted to much longer periods than the average of Kepler planets, which supports a scenario of strong photoevaporation in close-in circumbinary planets.Comment: Accepted by A&A. 8 pages, 5 figure

    The photospheric abundances of active binaries I Detailed analysis of HD 113816 (IS Vir) and HD 119285 (V851 Cen)

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    The high-resolution optical spectra of the two X-ray active binaries RS CVn stars HD 113816 (IS Vir) and HD 119285 (V851 Cen) are analysed and their Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Sc, Ti, Co and Ni contents determined. The analysis of IS Vir and V851 Cen is performed with three different LTE methods. In the first one, abundances are derived using measured equivalent widths and Kurucz LTE model atmospheres as input for the MOOG software package. The input atmospheric parameters and abundances are iteratively modified until (i) the Fe I abundances exhibit no trend with excitation potential or equivalent width, (ii) Fe I and Fe II average abundances are the same and (iii) Fe and Alpha elements average abundances are consistent with the input values. The second method follows a similar approach, but relies on the B-V and V-I colour indices to determine the temperature. The third method relies on fitting the 6162 A Ca I line wing profiles to derive the surface gravity. The reliability of these methods is investigated in the context of single line RS CVn stars. It is shown that the V-I photometric index gives, on a broader sample of stars, significantly cooler estimates of the effective temperature than the B-V index. All other approaches give results in good agreement with each other. The analysis of IS Vir and V851 Cen results in both cases in their primaries being giant stars of near-solar metallicity. Their parameters as derived with the first method are respectively Teff = 4720 K, log g = 2.65, [Fe/H] = +0.04 and Teff = 4700 K, log g = 3.0 and [Fe/H] = -0.13. In the case of V851 Cen the derived iron content is significantly higher than a previous determination in the literature. Both stars exhibit relative overabundances of several elements (e.g. Ca) with respect to the solar mix.Comment: 12 Pages, 2 Figures, Accepted for publication in A&

    Connecting substellar and stellar formation. The role of the host star's metallicity

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    Most of our current understanding of the planet formation mechanism is based on the planet metallicity correlation derived mostly from solar-type stars harbouring gas-giant planets. To achieve a far more reaching grasp on the substellar formation process we aim to analyse in terms of their metallicity a diverse sample of stars (in terms of mass and spectral type) covering the whole range of possible outcomes of the planet formation process (from planetesimals to brown dwarfs and low-mass binaries). Our methodology is based on the use of high-precision stellar parameters derived by our own group in previous works from high-resolution spectra by using the iron ionisation and equilibrium conditions. All values are derived in an homogeneous way, except for the M dwarfs where a methodology based on the use of pseudo equivalent widths of spectral features was used. Our results show that as the mass of the substellar companion increases the metallicity of the host star tendency is to lower values. The same trend is maintained when analysing stars with low-mass stellar companions and a tendency towards a wide range of host star's metallicity is found for systems with low mass planets. We also confirm that more massive planets tend to orbit around more massive stars. The core-accretion formation mechanism for planet formation achieves its maximum efficiency for planets with masses in the range 0.2 and 2 MJup_{\rm Jup}. Substellar objects with higher masses have higher probabilities of being formed as stars. Low-mass planets and planetesimals might be formed by core-accretion even around low-metallicity stars.Comment: Accepted by A&
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