Context. The accretion history of low-mass young stars is not smooth but shows spikes of accretion that can last from months and years to decades and centuries.
Aims: Observations of young stars in outbursts can help us understand the temporal evolution of accreting stars and the interplay between the accretion disk and the stellar magnetosphere.
Methods: 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.
Results: The spectral energy distribution of V1118 Ori varied significantly over the course of the outburst. The optical flux showed the largest variations, most likely caused by enhanced emission by a hot spot. The hot spot dominated the optical and near-infrared emission at the peak of the outburst, while the disk emission dominated in the mid-infrared. The emission silicate feature in V1118 Ori is flat and does not vary in shape, but was slightly brighter at the peak of the outburst compared to the post-outburst spectrum. 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 caused by circumstellar matter. Using Monte-Carlo realizations of star+disk+hotspot models to fit the spectral energy distributions in “quiescence” and at the peak of the outburst, we determined that the mass accretion rate varied from about 2.5 × 10-7 M_☉ yr-1 to 1.0 × 10-6 M_☉ yr-1; in addition, the fractional area of the hotspot increased significantly.
Conclusions: 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.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- February 2010
- accretion disks;
- infrared: stars;
- circumstellar matter;
- stars: coronae;
- stars: pre-main-sequence;
- X-rays: stars;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- Accepted in A&