Redshifted X-rays from the material accreting onto TW Hydrae: Evidence of a low-latitude accretion spot
1 Dip. di Fisica e Chimica, Università di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy
2 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy
3 Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, MS-3, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Received: 9 June 2017
Accepted: 8 August 2017
Context. High resolution spectroscopy, providing constraints on plasma motions and temperatures, is a powerful means to investigate the structure of accretion streams in classical T Tauri stars (CTTS). In particular, the accretion shock region, where the accreting material is heated to temperatures of a few million degrees as it continues its inward bulk motion, can be probed by X-ray spectroscopy.
Aims. In an attempt to detect for the first time the motion of this X-ray-emitting post-shock material, we searched for a Doppler shift in the deep Chandra High Energy Transmission Grating observation of the CTTS TW Hya. This test should unveil the nature of this X-ray emitting plasma component in CTTS and constrain the accretion stream geometry.
Methods. We searched for a Doppler shift in the X-ray emission from TW Hya with two different methods: by measuring the position of a selected sample of emission lines and by fitting the whole TW Hya X-ray spectrum, allowing the line-of-sight velocity to vary.
Results. We found that the plasma at T ~ 2 − 4 MK has a line-of-sight velocity of 38.3 ± 5.1 km s-1 with respect to the stellar photosphere. This result definitively confirms that this X-ray-emitting material originates in the post-shock region, at the base of the accretion stream, and not in coronal structures. The comparison of the observed velocity along the line of sight, 38.3 ± 5.1 km s-1, with the inferred intrinsic velocity of the post shock of TW Hya, vpost ≈ 110 − 120 km s-1, indicates that the footpoints of the accretion streams on TW Hya are located at low latitudes on the stellar surface.
Conclusions. Our results indicate that complex magnetic field geometries, such as those of TW Hya, permit low-latitude accretion spots. Moreover, since on TW Hya the redshift of the soft X-ray emission is very similar to that of the narrow component of the C iv resonance doublet at 1550 Å, then the plasma at 2 − 4 MK and that at 0.1 MK likely originate in the same post-shock regions.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / stars: pre-main sequence / stars: variables: T Tauri, Herbig Ae/Be / X-rays: stars / techniques: spectroscopic
© ESO, 2017