X-ray diagnostics of grain depletion in matter accreting onto T Tauri stars.
DRAKE J.J., TESTA P. and HARTMANN L.
Abstract (from CDS):
Recent analysis of high-resolution Chandra X-ray spectra has shown that the Ne/O abundance ratio is remarkably constant in stellar coronae. Based on this result, we point out the utility of the Ne/O ratio as a discriminant for accretion-related X-rays from T Tauri stars and for probing the measure of grain depletion of the accreting material in the inner disk. We apply the Ne/O diagnostic to the classical T Tauri stars BP Tau and TW Hya–the two stars found to date whose X-ray emission appears to originate, at least in part, from accretion activity. We show that TW Hya appears to be accreting material that is significantly depleted in O relative to Ne. In contrast, BP Tau has an Ne/O abundance ratio consistent with that observed for post-T Tauri stars. We interpret this result in terms of the different ages and evolutionary states of the circumstellar disks of these stars. In the young BP Tau disk (age ∼0.6 Myr), dust is still present near the disk corotation radius and can be ionized and accreted, rereleasing elements depleted onto grains. In the more evolved TW Hya disk (age ∼10 Myr), evidence points to ongoing coagulation of grains into much larger bodies, and possibly planets, that can resist the drag of inward-migrating gas, and the accreting gas is consequently depleted of grain-forming elements.: