Volume 618, October 2018
|Number of page(s)
|Stellar structure and evolution
|15 October 2018
Multiepoch, multiwavelength study of accretion onto T Tauri⋆
X-ray versus optical and UV accretion tracers
Hamburger Sternwarte, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kavli Institute for Astrophysics & Space Research, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, MA 02139 Cambridge, USA
3 University of Vienna, Department of Astrophysics, Türkenschanzstrasse 17, 1180 Vienna, Austria
Accepted: 25 May 2018
Classical T Tauri stars (CTTSs) accrete matter from the inner edge of their surrounding circumstellar disks. The impact of the accretion material on the stellar atmosphere results in a strong shock, which causes emission from the X-ray to the near-infrared (NIR) domain. Shock velocities of several 100 km s−1 imply that the immediate post shock plasma emits mainly in X-rays. Indeed, two X-ray diagnostics, the so-called soft excess and the high densities observed in He-like triplets, differentiate CTTSs from their non-accreting siblings. However, accretion shock properties derived from X-ray diagnostics often contradict established ultraviolet (UV)–NIR accretion tracers and a physical model simultaneously explaining both, X-ray and UV–NIR accretion tracers, is not yet available. We present new XMM-Newton and Chandra grating observations of the CTTS T Tauri combined with UV and optical data. During all epochs, the soft excess is large and the densities derived from the O VII and Ne IX He-like triplets are compatible with coronal densities. This confirms that the soft X-ray emission cannot originate in accretion funnels that carry the bulk of the accretion rate despite T Tauri’s large soft excess. Instead, we propose a model of radially density stratified accretion columns to explain the density diagnostics and the soft excess. In addition, accretion rate and X-ray luminosity are inversely correlated in T Tauri over several epochs. Such an anti-correlation has been observed in samples of stars. Hence the process causing it must be intrinsic to the accretion process, and we speculate that the stellar magnetic field configuration on the visible hemisphere affects both the accretion rate and the coronal emission, eventually causing the observed anti-correlation.
Key words: stars: individual: T Tauri / stars: variables: T Tauri, Herbig Ae/Be / ultraviolet: stars / stars: pre-main sequence / X-rays: stars / accretion, accretion disks
© ESO 2018
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