Using Multiwavelength Variability to Explore the Connection between X-ray Emission, the Far-Ultraviolet H2 Bump, and Accretion in T Tauri Stars

10 Apr 2019  ·  Espaillat C. C., Robinson C., Grant S., Reynolds M. ·

The high-energy radiation fields of T Tauri stars (TTS) should affect the surrounding circumstellar disk, having implications for disk transport and heating. Yet, observational evidence of the effect of high-energy fields on disks is scarce... Here we investigate the connection between X-ray emission and the innermost gas disk by leveraging the variability of TTS. We obtained multiple epochs of coordinated data (taken either simultaneously or within a few hours) of accreting TTS with the Hubble Space Telescope, the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. We measured the far-ultraviolet (FUV) H2 bump feature at 1600 A, which traces gas <1 AU from the star; the near-ultraviolet (NUV) emission, from which we extract the accretion luminosity; and also the X-ray luminosity. We do not find a correlation between the FUV H2 bump and X-ray luminosity. Therefore, an observable tracer of the effect of X-ray ionization in the innermost disk remains elusive. We report a correlation between the FUV H2 bump and accretion luminosity, linking this feature to the disk surface density. We also see a correlation between the X-ray luminosity and the accretion column density, implying that flaring activity may influence accretion. These results stress the importance of coordinated multiwavelength work to understand TTS. read more

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Solar and Stellar Astrophysics