The onset of X-ray emission in young stellar objects*
A Chandra observation of the Serpens star-forming region
Astrophysics Division – Research and Science Support Department of ESA, ESTEC, Postbus 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands
2 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy
3 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Accepted: 2 November 2006
Aims. To study the properties of X-ray emission from young stellar objects (YSOs) through their evolution from Class I to Class III and determine whether Class 0 protostars emit X-rays.
Methods.A deep Chandra X-ray observation of the Serpens star-forming region was obtained. The Serpens Cloud Core is ideally suited for this type of investigation, being populated by a dense and extremely young cluster whose members are found in all evolutionary stages, including six well-studied Class 0 sources.
Results.None of the six Class 0 protostars is detected in our observations, excluding the presence of sources with typical X-ray luminosities erg s-1 (for column densities of the order of cm-2, or ). A total of 85 X-ray sources are detected and the light curves and spectra of 35 YSOs are derived. There is a clear trend of decreasing absorbing column densities as one moves from Class I to Class III sources, and some evidence of decreasing plasma temperatures, too. We observe a strong, long-duration, flare from a Class II low-mass star, for which we derive a flaring loop length of the order of 20 stellar radii. We interpret the flaring event as originating from a magnetic flux tube connecting the star to its circumstellar disk. The presence of such a disk is supported by the detection, in the spectrum of this star, of 6.4 keV Fe fluorescent emission.
Key words: ISM: clouds / ISM: individual objects: Serpens cloud / stars: pre-main sequence / X-rays: stars
© ESO, 2007