The close T Tauri binary system V4046 Sgr: Rotationally modulated X-ray emission from accretion shocks

C. Argiroffi, A. Maggio, T. Montmerle, D. P. Huenemoerder, E. Alecian, M. Audard, J. Bouvier, F. Damiani, J. -F. Donati, S. G. Gregory, M. Güdel, G. A. J. Hussain, J. H. Kastner, G. G. Sacco

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We report initial results from a quasi-simultaneous X-ray/optical observing campaign targeting V4046 Sgr, a close, synchronous-rotating classical T Tauri star (CTTS) binary in which both components are actively accreting. V4046 Sgr is a strong X-ray source, with the X-rays mainly arising from high-density (n_e ~ 10^(11-12) cm^(-3)) plasma at temperatures of 3-4 MK. Our multiwavelength campaign aims to simultaneously constrain the properties of this X-ray emitting plasma, the large scale magnetic field, and the accretion geometry. In this paper, we present key results obtained via time-resolved X-ray grating spectra, gathered in a 360 ks XMM-Newton observation that covered 2.2 system rotations. We find that the emission lines produced by this high-density plasma display periodic flux variations with a measured period, 1.22+/-0.01 d, that is precisely half that of the binary star system (2.42 d). The observed rotational modulation can be explained assuming that the high-density plasma occupies small portions of the stellar surfaces, corotating with the stars, and that the high-density plasma is not azimuthally symmetrically distributed with respect to the rotational axis of each star. These results strongly support models in which high-density, X-ray-emitting CTTS plasma is material heated in accretion shocks, located at the base of accretion flows tied to the system by magnetic field lines.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Early online date31 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2012


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