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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

Spectroscopic diagnostics of UV power and accretion in T Tauri stars

D. H. Brooks, V.M. Costa

It is known that in the upper atmospheres of the Sun and some late-type stars there is a systematic relationship between the optically thin total radiated power and the power emitted by single spectral lines. Using recently derived emission-measure distributions from IUE spectra for BP Tau, CV Cha, RY Tau, RU Lupi and GW Ori, we demonstrate that this is also true for classical T Tauri stars (CTTSs). As in the solar case it is found that the CIV resonance doublet at 1548 Å is also the most accurate indicator of the total radiated power from the atmospheres of CTTSs. Since the total radiated-power density in CTTSs exceeds that of the Sun by over three orders of magnitude we derive new analytic expressions that can be used to estimate the values for these stars. We also discuss the implications of these results with regard to the influence or absence of accretion in this sample of stars and suggest that the method can be used to infer properties of the geometrical structure of the emission regions. As a demonstration case we also use archived HST-GHRS data to estimate the total radiative losses in the UV emitting region of BP Tau. We find values of 4.57 × 109 erg cm-2 s-1 and 5.11 × 1032 erg s-1 dependent on the geometry of the emission region. These results are several orders of magnitude larger than would be expected if the UV emission came primarily from an atmosphere covered in solar-like active regions and are closer to values associated with solar flares. They lead to luminosity estimates of 0.07 and 0.13 Lsolar, respectively, which are in broad agreement with results obtained from theoretical accretion shock models. Taken together they suggest that accretion may well be the dominant contributor to the UV emission in BP Tau.

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume 339, Page 467
February 2003

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