Volume 567, July 2014
|Number of page(s)||4|
|Published online||04 July 2014|
Smooth X-ray variability from ρ Ophiuchi A+B
A strongly magnetized primary B2 star?
1 INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy
2 Smithsonian-Harvard Center for Astrophysics 60 Garden St, Cambridge MA 02138, USA
Received: 20 May 2014
Accepted: 23 June 2014
X-rays from massive stars are ubiquitous yet not clearly understood. In an XMM-Newton observation devoted to observing the first site of star formation in the ρ Ophiuchi dark cloud, we detect smoothly variable X-ray emission from the B2IV+B2V system of ρ Ophiuchi. We tentatively assign the emission to the primary component. The light curve of the pn camera shows a first phase of low, almost steady rate, then a rise phase of duration of 10 ks, followed by a high rate phase. The variability is seen primarily in the band 1.0−8.0 keV while little variability is detected below 1 keV. The spectral analysis of the three phases reveals the presence of a hot component at 3.0 keV that adds up to two relatively cold components at 0.9 keV and 2.2 keV. We explain the smooth variability with the emergence of an extended active region on the surface of the primary star as being due to its fast rotation (vsin i ~ 315 km s-1). We estimate that the region has a diameter in the range 0.5−0.6 R∗. The hard X-ray emission and its variability hint at a magnetic origin, as suggested for a few other late-O through early-B type stars. We also discuss an alternative explanation based on the emergence from occultation of a young (5−10 Myr) low mass companion that is bright and hot in X-rays.
Key words: stars: early-type / stars: activity / stars: magnetic field / stars: individual:ρOphiuchi / starspots
© ESO, 2014
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