Volume 510, February 2010
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||12 February 2010|
Timescale of mass accretion in pre-main-sequence stars*
Max Planck Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117
Heidelberg, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Departamento de Fisica Teórica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain
3 European Southern Observatory, Karl Schwarzschild Strasse 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
4 Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto, 50 St. George Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 3H4, Canada
5 Lennard-Jones Laboratories, School of Physical & Geographical Sciences, Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG, UK
Accepted: 17 November 2009
We present the initial result of a large spectroscopic survey aimed at measuring the timescale of mass accretion in young, pre-main-sequence stars in the spectral type range K0–M5. Using multi-object spectroscopy with VIMOS at the VLT we identified the fraction of accreting stars in a number of young stellar clusters and associations of the ages of between 1–30 Myr. The fraction of accreting stars decreases from ~60% at 1.5–2 Myr to ~2% at 10 Myr. No accreting stars are found after 10 Myr at a sensitivity limit of 10-11 . We compared the fraction of stars showing ongoing accretion () to the fraction of stars with near-to-mid infrared excess (). In most cases we find < , i.e. , mass accretion appears to cease (or drop below detectable level) earlier than the dust is dissipated in the inner disk. At 5 Myr, 95% of the stellar population has stopped accreting material at a rate of , while ~20% of the stars show near-infrared excess emission. Assuming an exponential decay, we measure a mass accretion timescale () of 2.3 Myr, compared to a near-to-mid infrared excess timescale () of 3 Myr. Planet formation and/or migration, in the inner disk might be a viable mechanism to halt further accretion onto the central star on such a short timescale.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / stars: pre-main sequence / planetary systems: protoplanetary disks
© ESO, 2010
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