Protostars and Planets VI, Heidelberg, July 15-20, 2013

Poster 1H033

The Importance of Rotational Time-scales in Accretion Variability

Costigan, Gráinne (ESO, DIAS, Armagh)
Vink, Joirck (Armagh Observatory)
Scholz, Aleks (DIAS, St. Andrews)
Testi, Leonardo (ESO, Excellence Cluster Universe)
Ray, Tom (DIAS)

For the first few million years, one of the dominant sources of emission from a low mass young stellar object is from accretion. This process regulates the flow of material and angular moments from the surroundings to the central object, and is thought to play an important role in the definition of the long term stellar properties. Variability is a well documented attribute of accretion, and has been observed on time-scales of from days to years. However, where these variations come from is not clear. Th current model for accretion is magnetospheric accretion, where the stellar magnetic field truncates the disc, allowing the matter to flow from the disc onto the surface of the star. This model allows for variations in the accretion rate to come from many different sources, such as the magnetic field, the circumstellar disc and the interaction of the different parts of the system. We have been studying unbiased samples of accretors in order to identify the dominant time-scales and typical magnitudes of variations. In this way different sources of variations can be excluded and any missing physics in these systems identified. Through our previous work with the Long-term Accretion Monitoring Program (LAMP), we found 10 accretors in the ChaI region, whose variability is dominated by short term variations of 2 weeks. This was the shortest time period between spectroscopic observations which spanned 15 months, and rules out large scale processes in the disk as origins of this variability. On the basis of this study we have gone further to study the accretion signature H-alpha, over the time-scales of minutes and days in a set of Herbig Ae and T Tauri stars. Using the same methods as we used in LAMP we found the dominant time-scales of variations to be days. These samples both point towards rotation period of these objects as being an important time-scale for accretion variations. This allows us to indicate which are the most likely sources of these variations.

Click here to view poster PDF