New view of the corona of classical T Tauri stars: Effects of flaring activity in circumstellar disks⋆
Dipartimento di Fisica & Chimica Specola Universitaria, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90143 Palermo, Italy
2 LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, Sorbonne Université, Université PSL, CNRS, Paris, France
3 INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo “G.S. Vaiana”, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy
Accepted: 19 February 2019
Context. Classical T Tauri stars (CTTSs) are young low-mass stellar objects that accrete mass from their circumstellar disks. They are characterized by high levels of coronal activity, as revealed by X-ray observations. This activity may affect the disk stability and the circumstellar environment.
Aims. Here we investigate if an intense coronal activity due to flares that occur close to the accretion disk may perturb the stability of the inner disk, disrupt the inner part of the disk, and might even trigger accretion phenomena with rates comparable with those observed.
Methods. We modeled a magnetized protostar surrounded by an accretion disk through 3D magnetohydrodinamic simulations. The model takes into account the gravity from the central star, the effects of viscosity in the disk, the thermal conduction (including the effects of heat flux saturation), the radiative losses from optically thin plasma, and a parameterized heating function to trigger the flares. We explored cases characterized by a dipole plus an octupole stellar magnetic field configuration and different density of the disk or by different levels of flaring activity.
Results. As a result of the simulated intense flaring activity, we observe the formation of several loops that link the star to the disk; all these loops build up a hot extended corona with an X-ray luminosity comparable with typical values observed in CTTSs. The intense flaring activity close to the disk can strongly perturb the disk stability. The flares trigger overpressure waves that travel through the disk and modify its configuration. Accretion funnels may be triggered by the flaring activity and thus contribute to the mass accretion rate of the star. Accretion rates synthesized from the simulations are in a range between 10−10 and 10−9 M⊙ yr−1. The accretion columns can be perturbed by the flares, and they can interact with each other; they might merge into larger streams. As a result, the accretion pattern can be rather complex: the streams are highly inhomogeneous, with a complex density structure, and clumped.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / stars: coronae / stars: flare / stars: pre-main sequence / X-rays: stars
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