X-shooter spectroscopy of young stellar objects
VI. H i line decrements⋆
1 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, via di Frascati 33, 00040 Monte Porzio Catone, Italy
2 Institute for Astronomy, ETH Zürich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 27, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
3 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
4 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Salita Moiariello, 16 80131 Napoli, Italy
5 INAF–Osservatorio Astrofisico of Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi, 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
6 School of Cosmic Physics, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 31 Fitzwilliams Place, Dublin 2, Ireland
7 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy
Received: 10 September 2016
Accepted: 12 November 2016
Context. Hydrogen recombination emission lines commonly observed in accreting young stellar objects represent a powerful tracer for the gas conditions in the circumstellar structures (accretion columns, and winds or jets).
Aims. Here we perform a study of the H i decrements and line profiles, from the Balmer and Paschen H i lines detected in the X-shooter spectra of a homogeneous sample of 36 T Tauri objects in Lupus, the accretion and stellar properties of which were already derived in a previous work. We aim to obtain information on the H i gas physical conditions to delineate a consistent picture of the H i emission mechanisms in pre-main sequence low-mass stars (M∗< 2 M⊙).
Methods. We have empirically classified the sources based on their H i line profiles and decrements. We identified four Balmer decrement types (which we classified as 1, 2, 3, and 4) and three Paschen decrement types (A, B, and C), characterised by different shapes. We first discussed the connection between the decrement types and the source properties and then compared the observed decrements with predictions from recently published local line excitation models.
Results. We identify a few groups of sources that display similar H i properties. One third of the objects show lines with narrow symmetric profiles, and present similar Balmer and Paschen decrements (straight decrements, types 2 and A). Lines in these sources are consistent with optically thin emission from gas with hydrogen densities of order 109 cm-3 and 5000 < T < 15 000 K. These objects are associated with low mass accretion rates. Type 4 (L-shaped) Balmer and type B Paschen decrements are found in conjunction with very wide line profiles and are characteristic of strong accretors, with optically thick emission from high-density gas (log nH > 11 cm-3). Type 1 (curved) Balmer decrements are observed only in three sub-luminous sources viewed edge-on, so we speculate that these are actually type 2 decrements that are reddened because of neglecting a residual amount of extinction in the line emission region. About 20% of the objects present type 3 Balmer decrements (bumpy), which, however, cannot be reproduced with current models.
Key words: stars: pre-main sequence / stars: low-mass / stars: formation / open clusters and associations: individual: Lupus / circumstellar matter / line: profiles
© ESO, 2017