Volume 520, September-October 2010
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters, and populations|
|Published online||08 October 2010|
Observatoire Astronomique, Université de Strasbourg & CNRS, UMR 7550, 11 rue de l'Université, 67000 Strasbourg, France e-mail: email@example.com
2 INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
3 Departamento de Astrofísica y Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Accepted: 19 July 2010
Context. During the course of a large spectroscopic survey of X-ray active late-type stars in the solar neighbourhood, we discovered four lithium-rich stars packed within just a few degrees on the sky. Although located in a sky area rich in CO molecular regions and dark clouds, the Cepheus-Cassiopeia complex, these very young stars are projected several degrees away from clouds in front of an area void of interstellar matter. As such, they are very good “isolated” T Tauri star candidates.
Aims. We present optical observations of these stars conducted with 1–2 m class telescopes. We acquired high-resolution optical spectra as well as photometric data allowing us to investigate in detail their nature and physical parameters with the aim of testing the “runaway” and “in-situ” formation scenarios. Their kinematical properties are also analyzed to investigate their possible connection to already known stellar kinematic groups.
Methods. We use the cross-correlation technique and other tools developed by us to derive accurate radial and rotational velocities and perform an automatic spectral classification. The spectral subtraction technique is used to infer chromospheric activity level in the Hα line core and clean the spectra of photospheric lines before measuring the equivalent width of the lithium absorption line.
Results. Both physical (lithium content, chromospheric, and coronal activities) and kinematical indicators show that all stars are very young, with ages probably in the range 10–30 Myr. In particular, the spectral energy distribution of TYC 4496-780-1 displays a strong near- and far-infrared excess, typical of T Tauri stars still surrounded by an accretion disc. They also share the same Galactic motion, proving that they form a homogeneous moving group of stars with the same origin.
Conclusions. The most plausible explanation of how these “isolated” T Tauri stars formed is the “in-situ” model, although accurate distances are needed to clarify their connection with the Cepheus-Cassiopeia complex. The discovery of this loose association of “isolated” T Tauri stars can help to shed light on atypical formation processes of stars and planets in low-mass clouds.
Key words: stars: fundamental parameters / stars: pre-main sequence / stars: formation / stars: kinematics and dynamics / stars: late-type / X-rays: stars
Based on observations collected at the Observatoire de Haute Provence (OHP, France) and the Catania Astrophysical Observatory (OAC, Italy).
Figure 5 is only available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2010
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