Volume 455, Number 3, September I 2006
|Page(s)||903 - 921|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters, and populations|
|Published online||16 August 2006|
ACIS-I observations of NGC 2264. Membership and X-ray properties of PMS stars
INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo Giuseppe S. Vaiana, Palazzo dei Normanni, 90134 Palermo, Italy e-mail: [ettoref;giusi;sciorti]@astropa.inaf.it
Accepted: 5 April 2006
Aims.This paper's goal is to improve the member census of the NGC 2264 star-forming region and study the origin of X-ray activity in young PMS stars.
Methods.We analyze a deep, 100 ks long, Chandra ACIS observation covering a field in NGC 2264. The preferential detection in X-rays of low-mass PMS stars gives strong indications of their membership. We study X-ray activity as a function of stellar and circumstellar characteristics by correlating the X-ray luminosities, temperatures, and absorptions with optical and near-infrared data from the literature.
Results.We detect 420 X-ray point sources. Optical and NIR counterparts are found in the literature for 85% of the sources. We argue that more than 90% of these counterparts are NGC 2264 members, thereby significantly increasing the known low-mass cluster population by about 100 objects. Among the sources without counterpart, about 50% are probably associated with members, several of which we expect to be previously unknown protostellar objects. With regard to activity we confirm several previous findings: X-ray luminosity is related to stellar mass, although with a large scatter; is close to, but almost invariably below, the saturation level, 10-3, especially when considering the quiescent X-ray emission. A comparison between CTTS and WTTS shows several differences: CTTS have, at any given mass, activity levels that are both lower and more scattered than WTTS; emission from CTTS may also be more time variable and is on average slightly harder than for WTTS. However, we find evidence in some CTTS of extremely cool, keV, plasma which we speculate is heated by accretion shocks.
Conclusions.Activity in low-mass PMS stars, while generally similar to that of saturated MS stars, may be significantly affected by mass accretion in several ways: accretion is probably responsible for very soft X-ray emission directly produced in the accretion shock; it may reduce the average energy output of solar-like coronae, at the same time making them hotter and more dynamic. We briefly speculate on a physical scenario that can explain these observations.
Key words: stars: activity / stars: coronae / stars: pre-main sequence / open clusters and associations: individual: NGC 2264 / X-rays: stars
© ESO, 2006
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