Anomalous accretion activity and the spotted nature of the DQ Tau binary system.
BARY J.S. and PETERSEN M.S.
Abstract (from CDS):
We report the detection of an anomalous accretion flare in the tight eccentric pre-main-sequence binary system DQ Tau. In a multi-epoch survey consisting of randomly acquired low- to moderate-resolution near-infrared spectra obtained over a period of almost 10 yr, we detect a significant and simultaneous brightening of four standard accretion indicators (Ca II infrared triplet, the Paschen and Brackett series H I lines, and He I 1.083 µm), on back-to-back nights (φ = 0.372 and 0.433) with the flare increasing in strength as the system approached apastron (φ = 0.5). The mass accretion rate measured for the anomalous flare is nearly an order of magnitude stronger than the average quiescent rate. While previous observations established that frequent, periodic accretion flares phased with periastron passages occur in this system, these data provide evidence that orbitally modulated accretion flares occur near apastron, when the stars make their closest approach to the circumbinary disk. The timing of the flare suggests that this outburst is due to interactions of the stellar cores (or the highly truncated circumstellar disks) with material in non-axisymmetric structures located at the inner edge of the circumbinary disk. We also explore the optical/infrared spectral type mismatch previously observed for T Tauri stars (TTSs) and successfully model the shape of the spectra from 0.8 to 1.0 µm and the strengths of the TiO and FeH bands as manifestations of large cool spots on the surfaces of the stellar companions in DQ Tau. These findings illustrate that a complete model of near-infrared spectra of many TTSs must include parameters for spot filling factors and temperatures.
binaries: general - infrared: stars - stars: formation - stars: individual: DQ Tau - stars: pre-main sequence