Astrophys. J., 710, 1835-1847 (2010/February-3)
A deep Chandra X-ray spectrum of the accreting young star TW Hydrae.
BRICKHOUSE N.S., CRANMER S.R., DUPREE A.K., LUNA G.J.M. and WOLK S.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present X-ray spectral analysis of the accreting young star TW Hydrae from a 489 ks observation using the Chandra High Energy Transmission Grating. The spectrum provides a rich set of diagnostics for electron temperature Te, electron density Ne, hydrogen column density NH, relative elemental abundances, and velocities, and reveals its source in three distinct regions of the stellar atmosphere: the stellar corona, the accretion shock, and a very large extended volume of warm postshock plasma. The presence of Mg XII, Si XIII, and Si XIV emission lines in the spectrum requires coronal structures at ∼10 MK. Lower temperature lines (e.g., from O VIII, Ne IX, and Mg XI) formed at 2.5 MK appear more consistent with emission from an accretion shock. He-like Ne IX line ratio diagnostics indicate that Te= 2.50±0.25 MK and Ne= 3.0±0.2x1012/cm3 in the shock. These values agree well with standard magnetic accretion models. However, the Chandra observations significantly diverge from current model predictions for the postshock plasma. This gas is expected to cool radiatively, producing O VII as it flows into an increasingly dense stellar atmosphere. Surprisingly, O VII indicates Ne = 5.7+4.4–1.2x1011/cm3, 5 times lower than Nein the accretion shock itself and ∼7 times lower than the model prediction. We estimate that the postshock region producing O VII has roughly 300 times larger volume and 30 times more emitting mass than the shock itself. Apparently, the shocked plasma heats the surrounding stellar atmosphere to soft X-ray emitting temperatures and supplies this material to nearby large magnetic structures–which may be closed magnetic loops or open magnetic field leading to mass outflow. Our model explains the soft X-ray excess found in many accreting systems as well as the failure to observe high Ne signatures in some stars. Such accretion-fed coronae may be ubiquitous in the atmospheres of accreting young stars.
accretion, accretion disks - stars: coronae - stars: formation - stars: individual: TW Hydrae - techniques: spectroscopic - X-rays: stars
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