The X-ray emission from Z Canis Majoris during an FUor-like outburst and the detection of its X-ray jet

Astronomy and Astrophysics (Impact Factor: 4.48). 05/2009; DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200911750

ABSTRACT Accretion shocks have been recognized as an important X-ray emission mechanism for pre-main sequence stars, and yet the X-ray properties of FUor outbursts, events that are caused by violent accretion, have been given little attention. We observed the FUor object Z CMa during optical outburst and quiescence with Chandra. No significant changes in X-ray brightness and spectral shape were found, suggesting that the X-ray emission is coronal. The binary nature of Z CMa makes the origin of the X-ray source ambiguous. However, the moderate hydrogen column density derived from our data makes it unlikely that the embedded primary star is the X-ray source. The secondary star, which is the FUor object, is thus responsible for both the X-ray emission and the ongoing accretion outburst, which seem, however, to be unrelated phenomena. The secondary is also known to drive a large outflow and jet, which we detect here for the first time in X-rays. The distance of the X-ray emitting outflow source to the central star is greater than in jets of low-mass stars.

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    ABSTRACT: Protostellar jets are known to emit in a wide range of bands, from radio to IR to optical bands, and to date also about ten X-ray emitting jets have been detected, with a rate of discovery of about one per year. We aim at investigating the mechanism leading to the X-ray emission detected in protostellar jets and at constraining the physical parameters that describe the jet/ambient interaction by comparing our model predictions with observations. We perform 2D axisymmetric hydrodynamic simulations of the interaction between a supersonic jet and the ambient. The jet is described as a train of plasma blobs randomly ejected by the stellar source along the jet axis. We explore the parameter space by varying the ejection rate, the initial jet Mach number, and the initial density contrast between the ambient and the jet. We synthesized from the model the X-ray emission as it would be observed with the current X-ray telescopes. The mutual interactions among the ejected blobs and of the blobs with the ambient medium lead to complex X-ray emitting structures within the jet: irregular chains of knots; isolated knots with measurable proper motion; apparently stationary knots; reverse shocks. The predicted X-ray luminosity strongly depends on the ejection rate and on the initial density contrast between the ambient and the jet, with a weaker dependence on the jet Mach number. Our model represents the first attempt to describe the X-ray properties of all the X-ray emitting protostellar jets. The comparison between our model predictions and the observations can provide a useful diagnostic tool necessary for a proper interpretation of the observations. In particular, we suggest that the observable quantities derived from the spectral analysis of X-ray observations can be used to constrain the ejection rate, a parameter explored in our model that is not measurable by current observations. Comment: Accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2010; · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abriged version for astroph: The young late-type star V1118 Orionis was in outburst from 2005 to 2006. We followed the outburst with optical and near-infrared photometry; the X-ray emission was further probed with observations taken with XMM-Newton and Chandra during and after the outburst. In addition, we obtained mid-infrared photometry and spectroscopy with Spitzer at the peak of the outburst and in the post-outburst phase. The spectral energy distribution of V1118 Ori varied significantly over the course of the outburst. The optical flux showed the largest variations, most likely due to enhanced emission by a hot spot. The latter dominated the optical and near-infrared emission at the peak of the outburst, while the disk emission dominated in the mid-infrared. The X-ray flux correlated with the optical and infrared fluxes, indicating that accretion affected the magnetically active corona and the stellar magnetosphere. The thermal structure of the corona was variable with some indication of a cooling of the coronal temperature in the early phase of the outburst with a gradual return to normal values. Color-color diagrams in the optical and infrared showed variations during the outburst, with no obvious signature of reddening due to circumstellar matter. Using MC realizations of star+disk+hotspot models to fit the SED in ``quiescence'' and at the peak of the outburst, we determined that the mass accretion rate varied from about 2.5E-7 Msun/yr to 1E-6 Msun/yr; in addition the fractional area of the hotspot increased significantly as well. The multi-wavelength study of the V1118 Ori outburst helped us to understand the variations in spectral energy distributions and demonstrated the interplay between the disk and the stellar magnetosphere in a young, strongly accreting star. Comment: Accepted in A&A, Tables will be published online
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 12/2009; · 4.48 Impact Factor

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