EDP Sciences
Free access
Issue
A&A
Volume 384, Number 2, March III 2002
Page(s) 521 - 531
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20020070


A&A 384, 521-531 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20020070

Characterization of low-mass pre-main sequence stars in the Southern Cross

J. M. Alcalá1, E. Covino1, C. Melo2 and M. F. Sterzik3

1  Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Via Moiariello 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy
2  Observatoire de Genève, Ch. des Maillettes 51, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
3  European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile

(Received 5 November 2001 / Accepted 9 January 2002 )

Abstract
We report high-resolution spectroscopic observations, as well as high-resolution near infrared (IR) imaging of six stars previously identified in a ROSAT pointed observation in the direction of the B-type star $\beta$ Cru, and classified as low-mass pre-main sequence (PMS) stars. Four of the stars are confirmed to be low-mass PMS stars, associated with the Lower Centaurus-Crux group, while the other two are unrelated to the Sco-Cen association. The confirmed PMS stars are most likely in their post-T Tauri evolutionary phase. Although future deep X-ray observations with high-resolution imagers might detect more new PMS stars, the possibility that the Crux PMS stars are part of a small aggregate, with $\beta$ Crux itself approximately at the center, is rather unlikely, given the high velocity dispersion and the low spatial density of the confirmed PMS stars. Instead, these stars may be part of a moving group in a more disperse and numerous population of low-mass PMS stars, distributed in the Lower Centaurus-Crux subgroup. New PMS binaries and multiple systems were also discovered among the stars in the sample, namely a close visual pair and a hierarchical triple system in which one of the components is a double-lined spectroscopic binary (SB2). The detailed orbital solution is reported for the inner short-period ( $P_{\rm orb} =$ 58.3 days) SB2. A preliminary orbital solution for the hierarchical triple system yields a systemic orbital period of about 4.6 years, which makes this object a very suitable target for follow-up observations with the Very-Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) in the coming years.


Key words: stars: pre-main sequence -- stars: low mass, brown dwarfs -- stars: binaries: general -- X-rays: stars

Offprint request: J. M. Alcalá, jmae@na.astro.it

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© ESO 2002