I. The optically bright sample
Observatoire Astronomique, Université de Strasbourg & CNRS, UMR 7550, 11 rue de l'Université, 67000 Strasbourg, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, via S. Sofia, 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
3 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università di Catania, via S. Sofia, 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
4 Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, Université Joseph-Fourier, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France
5 Laboratoire H. Fizeau, Parc Valrose, 28, avenue Valrose, 06108 Nice cedex 2, France
6 European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
Accepted: 27 April 2009
Aims. We present the first results of an ambitious ground-based observation programme conducted on 1–4 m class telescopes. Our sample consists of 1097 active and presumably young stars, all of them being optical (Tycho Catalogue) counterparts of ROSAT All-Sky Survey X-ray sources in the northern hemisphere. In this paper, we concentrate on the optically brightest ( 95) candidates (704 objects). We acquired high-resolution optical spectroscopy in the Hα and/or lithium spectral regions for 426 of such stars without relevant data in the literature. We describe the star sample and the observations and we start to discuss the physical properties of the investigated stars.
Methods. We used a cross-correlation technique and other tools developed by us to derive accurate radial and rotational velocities and to perform an automatic spectral classification for both single stars and double-lined systems. The spectral subtraction technique was used to derive chromospheric activity levels and lithium abundances. We estimated the fraction of young single stars and multiple systems in stellar soft X-ray surveys and the contamination by more evolved systems, like RS CVn binaries. We classified stars on the basis of their lithium abundance and give a glimpse of their sky distribution.
Results. The sample appears to be a mixture of quite young Pleiades-like and Hyades-like stars plus an older lithium-poor population probably born within the last 1–2 Gyr. Seven stars with a lithium abundance compatible with the age of IC 2602 (about 30 Myr) or even younger were detected as well, although two appear to be lithium-rich giants.The discovery of a large number of highly or moderately lithium-rich giants is another outcome of the present survey.
Conclusions. The contamination of soft X-ray surveys by old systems in which the activity level is enhanced by tidal synchronisation is not negligible, especially for K-type stars. Five stars with lithium content close to the primordial abundance are probably associated with already known moving groups in the solar neighbourhood. Some of them are good post-T Tauri candidates according to their positions in the HR diagram.
Key words: stars: formation / stars: rotation / stars: kinematics / stars: pre-main sequence / stars: binaries: close / X-rays: stars
Based on observations collected at the Observatoire de Haute Provence (France) and the Catania Astrophysical Observatory (Italy).
© ESO, 2009