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Bolometric temperatures of young stellar objects
Myers, P. C.; Ladd, E. F.
AA(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA), AB(Hawaii Univ., Honolulu)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 413, no. 1, p. L47-L50. (ApJL Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Early Stars, Stellar Evolution, Stellar Luminosity, Stellar Temperature, Black Body Radiation, Continuous Spectra, Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram, Stellar Envelopes, T Tauri Stars
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We propose the 'bolometric temperature' T(bol) as a measure of the circumstellar obscuration and evolutionary development of a young stellar object (YSO). T(bol) is the temperature of a blackbody having the same mean frequency as the observed continuum spectrum. We present three indications that a YSO evolves toward the main sequence from low to high T(bol) as a YSO clears its natal circumstellar dust: (1) For 129 YSOs in Taurus-Auriga, T(bol) ranges continuously from 60 to 5250 K, from 'protostars' to 'classical' T Tauri stars (CTTs) to 'weak-line' T Tauri stars (WTTs), and a plot of L(bol) versus T(bol) terminates abruptly at the main sequence. (2) In photospheric temperature T(eff) CTTs and WTTs are indistinguishable, with T(eff) about 4200 K, but in T(bol) WTTs are distinctly hotter (3600 K) than CTTs (2100 K). These temperatures indicate that circumstellar matter intercepts a larger fraction of the stellar luminosity for CTTs (0.5) than for WTTs (0.2). (3) In stellar groups, YSOs with low T(bol) are fewer and more concentrated, while YSOs with high T(bol) are more numerous and widespread. As T(bol) increases, an increasing fraction of YSOs lie outside a fiducial contour of (C-13)O line emission. Thus colder YSOs are probably younger and hotter YSOs older than the dispersal time for gas traced by the (C-13)O line, estimated to be 1-3 Myr.

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