Volume 482, Number 3, May II 2008
|Page(s)||L35 - L38|
|Published online||26 March 2008|
Letter to the Editor
Unveiling extremely veiled T Tauri stars *
Stockholm Observatory, AlbaNova University Centre, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3800, USA
3 School of Physics & Astronomy, University of St Andrews, North Haugh, St Andrews KY16 9SS, Scotland
4 Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, p/o Nauchny, Crimea, 98409 Ukraine
5 California Institute of Technology, MC 105-24, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
Accepted: 19 March 2008
Context. Photospheric absorption lines in classical T Tauri stars (CTTS) are weak compared to normal stars. This so-called veiling is normally identified with an excess continuous emission formed in shock-heated gas at the stellar surface below the accretion streams.
Aims. We have selected four stars (RW Aur A, RU Lup, S CrA NW and S CrA SE) with unusually strong veiling to make a detailed investigation of veiling versus stellar brightness and emission line strengths for comparisons to standard accretion models.
Methods. We have monitored the stars photometrically and spectroscopically at several epochs.
Results. In standard accretion models a variable accretion rate will lead to a variable excess emission. Consequently, the stellar brightness should vary accordingly. We find that the veiling of absorption lines in these stars is strongly variable and usually so large that it would require the release of several stellar luminosities of potential energy. At states of very large line dilution, the correspondingly large veiling factors derived correlate only weakly with brightness. Moreover, the emission line strengths violate the expected trend of veiling versus line strength. The veiling can change dramatically in one night, and is not correlated with the phase of the rotation periods found for two stars.
Conclusions. We show that in at least three of the stars, when the veiling becomes high, the photospheric lines become filled-in by line emission, which produces large veiling factors unrelated to changes in any continuous emission from shocked regions. We also consider to what extent extinction by dust and electron scattering in the accretion stream may affect veiling measures in CTTS. We conclude that the degree of veiling cannot be used as a measure of accretion rates in CTTS with rich emission line spectra.
Key words: stars: pre-main sequence / accretion, accretion disks / stars: individual: RW Aur A / stars: variables: general / stars: individual: RU Lup / stars: individual: S CrA
© ESO, 2008
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