We present ASCA and ROSAT X-ray observations of the classical T Tauri star TW Hya, the namesake of a small association that, at a distance of ~50 pc, represents the nearest known region of recent star formation. Analysis of ASCA and ROSAT spectra indicates characteristic temperatures of ~1.7 and ~9.7 MK for the X-ray emitting region(s) of TW Hya, with emission lines of highly ionized Fe dominating the spectrum at energies of ~1 keV. The X-ray data show variations in X-ray flux on timescales of ~<1 hr as well as indications of changes in the X-ray absorbing column on timescales of several years, suggesting that flares and variable obscuration are responsible for the large-amplitude optical variability of TW Hya on short and long timescales, respectively. Comparison with model calculations suggests that TW Hya produces sufficient hard X-ray flux to produce significant ionization of molecular gas within its circumstellar disk; such X-ray ionization may regulate both protoplanetary accretion and protoplanetary chemistry (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).
Department, Program, or Center
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)
Astrophys.J. 525 (1999) 837-844
RIT – Main Campus