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Volume 397, Number 2, January II 2003
Page(s) 675 - 691
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021544

A&A 397, 675-691 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021544

A spectro-astrometric study of southern pre-main sequence stars

Binaries, outflows, and disc structure down to AU scales
M. Takami1, J. Bailey2 and A. Chrysostomou1

1  Department of Physical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AB, UK
2  Anglo-Australian Observatory, PO Box 296, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia

(Received 18 July 2002 / Accepted 22 October 2002)

We present spectro-astrometric observations for 28 southern pre-main sequence (PMS) stars and investigate their circumstellar environment down to AU scales. The structures detected in the "position spectra" include: (1) almost all the known binary companions in our sample (Sz 68, Sz 41, HO Lup, VW Cha, S CrA, AS 205), (2) companion candidates which have not been detected by infrared speckle techniques (T CrA, MWC 300), (3) monopolar and bipolar jets (AS 353A, CS Cha), (4) a combination of jets and a bow shock (VV CrA), and (5) a combination of a jet and stellar companion (R CrA). Results in known binaries show that this technique is capable of detecting binaries with separations down to ~10 milliarcsec. Both components in each binary appear to have strikingly similar profiles in H $\alpha$ emission, indicating a similarity of circumstellar activity (mass accretion and/or a wind), and supporting the scenario of core fragmentation for the mechanism of binary formation. The bipolar H $\alpha$ jet in CS Cha has a spatial scale of ~1.5 AU, similar to that previously observed in RU Lup, and likely be heated by a mechanism other than shocks. From the spatial scale, velocity, and H $\alpha$ luminosity, we estimate the mean hydrogen density in the AU-scale bipolar flows to be $\ga$10 7 cm -3. The bipolar geometry in these jets can be explained by the presence of a disc gap/hole at AU scales, which could be induced by a gas-giant planet at the ice condensation radius.

Key words: accretion, accretion discs -- line: formation -- line: profiles -- stars: activity -- stars: evolution -- stars: pre-main-sequence

Offprint request: M. Takami, takami@star.herts.ac.uk

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