Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 359, 1049-1064 (2005/May-3)
Probing the circumstellar structures of T Tauri stars and their relationship to those of Herbig stars.
VINK J.S., DREW J.E., HARRIES T.J., OUDMAIJER R.D. and UNRUH Y.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present Hα spectropolarimetry observations of a sample of 10 bright T Tauri stars, supplemented with new Herbig Ae/Be star data. A change in the linear polarization across Hα is detected in most of the T Tauri (9/10) and Herbig Ae (9/11) objects, which we interpret in terms of a compact source of line photons that is scattered off a rotating accretion disc. We find consistency between the position angle (PA) of the polarization and those of imaged disc PAs from infrared and millimetre imaging and interferometry studies, probing much larger scales. For the Herbig Ae stars AB Aur, MWC 480 and CQ Tau, we find the polarization PA to be perpendicular to the imaged disc, which is expected for single scattering. On the other hand, the polarization PA aligns with the outer disc PA for the T Tauri stars DR Tau and SU Aur and FU Ori, conforming to the case of multiple scattering. This difference can be explained if the inner discs of Herbig Ae stars are optically thin, whilst those around our T Tauri stars and FU Ori are optically thick. Furthermore, we develop a novel technique that combines known inclination angles and our recent Monte Carlo models to constrain the inner rim sizes of SU Aur, GW Ori, AB Aur and CQ Tau. Finally, we consider the connection of the inner disc structure with the orientation of the magnetic field in the foreground interstellar medium: for FU Ori and DR Tau, we infer an alignment of the stellar axis and the larger magnetic field direction.
techniques: polarimetric - circumstellar matter - stars: formation - stars: individual: T Tauri - stars: pre-main-sequence
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