We present archival ROSAT data for three recently identified, nearby (D < 70 pc), young (~10−40 Myr) stellar associations: the TW Hydrae Association, the Tucana-Horologium Association, and the beta Pic Moving Group. The distributions of ROSAT X-ray hardness ratios (HR1, HR2) for these three groups, whose membership is dominated by low-mass, weak-lined T Tauri stars, are tightly clustered and very similar to one another. The value of HR1 for TW Hya itself — the only bona fide classical T Tauri star in any of the nearby groups — is clearly anomalous among these nearby young stars. We compare the hardness ratio distributions of stars in the three nearby groups with those of T Tauri stars, the Hyades, and main sequence dwarfs in the field. This comparison demonstrates that the X-ray spectra of F through M stars soften with age, and that F and G stars evolve more rapidly in X-ray spectral hardness than do K and M stars. It is as yet unclear whether this trend can be attributed to age-dependent changes in the intrinsic X-ray spectra of stars of type F and later, to a decrease in the column density of circumstellar gas (e.g., in residual protoplanetary disks), or to the diminishing contributions of star-disk interactions to X-ray emission. Regardless, these results demonstrate that analysis of archival ROSAT X-ray spectral data can help both to identify nearby, young associations and to ascertain the X-ray emission properties of members of known associations (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).
Department, Program, or Center
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)
Astrophys.J. 585 (2003) 878-884
RIT – Main Campus