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The Role of Small Telescopes in the Study of Low-Mass Young Stellar Objects and Star Formation

Devendra Ojha TIFR, Mumbai

SNBNCBS, Kolkata

November 7, 2011

SFRs - some observational facts

Spread in the HRD
Well known problem: spread in Teff L diagram of young cluster members (1 - 10 Myr)

Age spread ?

Bayo et al. 2011

Orionis (~ 5 Myr)

Early Evolution of Young Low-Mass Stars: History T Tauri stars Formation of Sun-like stars FU Orionis Objects Results - Two recent outbursts (V1647 Ori and LDN 1415-IRS) extreme cases Stellar Initial Mass Function (IMF): Universality of the IMF

Facts Discovery of the T Tauri Stars

RU Lup

T Tau R Mon The Original 11 (Alfred Joy, 1945)

Stars that show irregular flux variations Stellar absorption features typical of sun-like stars Often associated with bright / dark nebular regions Curious Emission Line spectra


RY Tau

RW Aur


UX Tau

UY Aur

UZ Tau

XZ Tau 4

The Discovery of the T Tauri Stars.

R CrA RU Lup

T Tau

R Mon RY Tau

RW Aur

A few years later (1949) V. Ambartsumian first postulated that these T Tauri variables are in-fact sun-like stars in the very early stages of formation. Thus, the science of star formation had begun !


UX Tau

UY Aur

UZ Tau

XZ Tau 5

Shortly after the T Tauri Stars were introduced

variable stars of Orion Type and variable Ae/Be stars (Herbig 1950s) Seen to be concentrated around the Orion Nebula Cluster
The variables of Orion Type were very similar to the T Tauris

The Formation of Sun-like stars

Stars form in a range of environments From Giant molecular clouds
M ~ 106 Msun, R ~10 pc
= Star clusters with massive O & B type stars ! (Like Orion, M16)

To low density molecular core regions

M ~ 104 Msun, R ~0.1 pc
= A few stars, & with few or no high mass (Taurus SFR)

Formation of Sun-Like Stars - In Isolation

(Like in the sparse regions of the Taurus SFR)

M. Hogerheijde1998, after Shu et al. 1987

Formation of Sun-Like Stars - In Isolation

Circumstellar material is accreted onto the central star. The accretion process is sometimes eruptive or episodic - FU Ori, EXOr outbursts, where mass is at once accreted onto the star in large quantities. The process of disk material accreting onto the central star is not 100% efficient
Tracy Beck - HSB

Artists conception of a protostar


Formation of Sun-Like Stars - In Isolation

The process of disk material accreting onto the central star is not 100% efficient. Though processes not yet understood, some of the material being accreted onto a young star is ejected out through the poles of the system in spectacular protostellar outflows of material !

Artists conception of a protostellar outflow

Formation of Sun-Like Stars - In Isolation

HST Image of a circumstellar disk seen in silhouette with a powerful outflow While some arent ?

HH 30
Why are some outflows well collimated ?

HH 46
HST Image of a powerful outflow from a young protostar still embedded within its natal cloud

The Furor over FUORs

In 1937, an ordinary 16th magnitude star in the constellation Orion began to brighten steadily. Thinking it was a nova, astronomers were astounded when the star just kept getting brighter and brighter over the course of a year. Most novae burst forth suddenly and then begin to fade within weeks. But this star, now glowing at 9th magnitude, refused to fade. Adding to the puzzle, astronomers could see there was a gaseous nebula nearby shining from the reflected light of this mysterious star, now named FU Orionis.

FU Ori has remained in this high state, around 10th magnitude ever since. Because this was a form of stellar variability never seen before and there were no other examples of this behavior, astronomers were forced to learn what they could from the only known example, or wait for another event to provide more clues. Finally, more than 30 years later, FU Ori-like behavior appeared again in 1970 when the star now known as V1057 Cyg increased in brightness by 5.5 magnitudes over 390 days. Then in 1974, a 3rd example was discovered when V1515 Cyg rose from 17th magnitude to 12th magnitude over an interval lasting years. Astronomers began piecing

FU Orionis objects
Large outbursts: L 2-3 orders of magnitude Rise timescale: Sudden increase in the mass accretion rate trise 1 yr (FU Ori and V1057 Cyg) in 20 yr (V1515 Cyg) the circumstellar disk t

tdecay 10 yr (V1057 Cyg) tdecay 50-100 yr (FU Ori and V1515 Cyg)

Accretion disk SEDs fit the observation for <10m Kenyon & Hartmann 1991 Decay timescale: Double peaked optical - near IR line profiles

FU Ori : example of episodic accretion

(Zhu et al. 2007, 2008) Accretion disk model predicts SED, variation of spectral type and rotation with wavelength Accretes 10-2 Msun In 100 year Massive Inner disk

2000 K 6000K

0.5 1 AU

infall~10-5 M yr-1

infall~10-5 M yr-1


~10-8 M yr-1

~10-4 M yr-1 Infall to disk, with episodic disk accretion

Most of the stellar mass is accreted in the protostellar phase - from disks! - in outbursts?

Schematic picture of stellar accretion (Hartmann 1998)

Standard Evolutionary Scenario

Single isolated low-mass star
n~10 -10 cm T~10 K
4 5 -3

n~105-108 cm-3 T~10-300 K


Factor 1000 smaller

infall Protostar with disk

Class I
t=105 yr (?)

Core collapse Classes

Class 0


Formation planets

t=106-107 yr

Solar system Note axis change!

t>108 yr

Scenario for star- and planet formation

Stages outflow

Formation planets Cloud collapse Classes

t=106-107 yr

Solar system

t>108 yr (?) t=105 yr


Protostar with disk


Class II Formation planets

t=106-107 yr

Class III Solar system

t>108 yr

Spitzer probes dust at temperatures between 100 and 1500 K.

Outburst mechanism
Tidal interaction with a companion star
Bonnel & Bastien 1992

Gravitational instability in a massive disk

Armitage, Livio & Pringle 2001

Thermal instability - Planet disk interactions ?

Clarke, Lin & Papaloizou 1989 Bell & Lin 1994, Bell et al 1995

Two Extreme Cases

V1647 Ori (McNeils Nebula) - L1630 Cloud (d ~ 400 pc)
- new class of young eruptive variable ?

LDN 1415-IRS (d ~ 170 pc)

- least luminous member of the sparse sample of FUor and EXor objects.

Ojha et al. 2005, 2006, 2008 Vig et al. 2006 Kaurav et al. 2010 Pawade et al. 2010 Ninan et al. 2011 Ninan et al. (in preparation)

Observations (2004 2011):

Optical photometry, Optical Spectroscopy, NIR photometry, Radio continuum mapping 2-meter Himalayan Chandra Telescope 2-meter IUCAA Telescope 1.4-meter IRSF Telescope (South Africa) 1-meter ARIES telescope GMRT

Most important observational properties of FUOrs:

(partly taken from Hartmann & Kenyon, 1996)

An outburst in optical and/or NIR wavelengths of several

magnitudes over short time scales (months to several years) followed by a longer fading phase (several decades) possibly to pre-outburst luminosity.

NIR spectra showing strong CO band head absorption

features at 2.3 micron indicative of very high temperatures related to high accretion rates. An SED showing large IR emission excesses with the object being sometimes heavily extincted. This suggests the presence of a surrounding circumstellar envelope of dusty material. Water vapor bands, characteristic of K-M giant/supergiant atmospheres (effective temperatures 3000 K), in the 1-2 micron and 5-8 micron region.

Most important observational properties of FUOrs.

Contrary to the NIR spectra, optical spectra indicating spectral types of late F to G (effective temperatures 7000-6000 K) including lower surface gravities than classical T Tauri stars. Broad and strongly blue-shifted absorption lines typically observed in the Balmer lines, especially in H. The emission
component in the P Cygni Halpha profile is often completely missing.

At high spectral resolution, FUors appear to be rapidly rotating showing double-peaked absorption line profiles. However, there is evidence for differential rotation, with the velocity widths being smaller for lines in the IR than for optical lines. This strongly
supports the accretion disk model where these features are produced by the rotation of the disk.

In the direct surroundings often reflection nebulae are present. Not all FUors show all of these features, and for some objects not all properties were observationally tested !

V1647 Ori (McNeils Nebula)

M 78 (NGC 2068)

L1630 (Lynds Dark Cloud)

Emergence of McNeil's Nebula

POSS I 1951

POSS II 1990

2001 2MASS 1998

Feb 2004

M 78 Region
Oct 22, 1966 : The Messier Album Feb 12, 2004

The (visible) (re-)birth of a star: IRAS 05436-0007 = V1647 Orionis

V1647 Ori (McNeils Nebula)

VHI (2m HCT)

[a] - [c] : NIR Images (Feb 23 29, 2004) (JHKs color-composite images)

[d] : Optical/NIR (RHKs color-composite image) 1.4-meter IRSF (Ojha et al 2005; 2006)

Optical photometry - V1647 Orionis and McNeil's Nebula

Ojha et al. (2006; 2008) Aspin et al. (2009) Kaurav et al. (2010) Ninan et al. (2011)

X-ray outburst !
A factor ~50 increase in the X-ray flux The outburst seems to be due to the sudden onset of a phase of rapid accretion Strongly enhanced high energy emission from young stars can occur as a consequence of high accretion rates. Such accretion-enhanced X-ray emission from erupting young stars may be short-lived, because intense stardisk magnetospheric interactions are quenched rapidly by the subsequent flood of new material onto the star.

(V1647 Ori)

Kastner et al., 2004, Nature, 430, pp 385-488

V1647 Ori (McNeils Nebula) Optical spectra


Halpha line

Reipurth & Aspin 2004

Ojha et al 2006

Time variation of Halpha Equivalent Widths

2004: Indicate an oscillatory or periodic variation of the H EW. Power spectrum analysis indicates the period of oscillations to be 40 d.

NIR photometry

V1647 Ori (McNeils Nebula)

NIR spectrum

Geometry of McNeil's Nebula

find no evidence for magnetic accretion, and so vote for FUor over EXor.
Acosta-Pulido et al. (2007); Ninan et al. (in preparation)

Observed Spectral Energy Distribution

V1647 Ori
(Lbol ~ 44 Lsun)

a factor of 15-20 increase from the pre-outburst state !

Muzerolle et al. 2005

Object with a disk of about 0.5 solar masses, a pre-outburst bolometric luminosity of 5.6 solar, and is probably a class II protostar of age about 400,000 years. - Abraham et al. (2004)

Disk mass accretion rate of ~ 10-5 Msun/yr Their vote on the FUor vs. EXor question is "some of each."


Bastien et al. 2011, arXiv:1108.5465v1

Detected a flicker noise signature in the power spectrum of the light curves, which may suggest that the stellar magnetosphere continued to interact with the accretion disk during each outburst event.

Conclusions - V1647 Ori (McNeils Nebula)

Initial conditions of the present outburst (2008) are largely the same as were in 2004. Due to unexpected second outburst (in 2008) in a short time scale after the first quiescent phase (2006), it is possible that we are witnessing a new kind of low mass young variable rather than FUor or EXor. A photometric comparison of McNeils nebula between 2004 (first outburst) and 2008 (second outburst suggests that the 2008 outburst may be more due to surface accretion of matter than an internal re-arrangement effect.

LDN 1415-IRS
KISO 2001 I-band

HH 892A

2MASS K-band TLS 2006 I-, H-, & R-band TLS image (epoch 2006) Stecklum et al. 2007


A new nebula was found which brightened by ~3.8 mag since 2001. It is associated with IRAS 04376+5413.

LDN 1415-IRS - Morphology



2006 October 2009 March

Pawade, Ojha, et al. 2010

LDN 1415-IRS
Sep 2006 H

The H line of L1415-IRS shows a P Cygni profile caused by an outflowing wind. The light grey line shows the same for LMZ12, the central object of McNeil's nebula (Reipurth & Aspin. 2004)

Stecklum et al. (2007)


Optical Spectra
The wind velocities derived from the blue edge of the P Cygni Absorption trough : ~ 210 500 km/s (2006 - 2007)

LDN 1415-IRS NIR Morphology

Pre-outburst (2MASS) 1998

H J Post-outburst (HCT) 2007

JHK Optical/NIR

LDN 1415-IRS

J-band (post-outburst)


K-band (pre-outburst) 2MASS

Optical-NIR Morphology

LDN 1415-IRS The least luminous FUor

SED of L1415-IRS (symbols). The luminosity from 0.9...60 m amounts to 0.13 Lsun in the low state for d = 170 pc.


The line displays the SED of L1014-IRS for comparison (Lbol ~ 0.3 Lsun from Spitzer).

The low luminosity of the source challenges the thermal disk-instability model of Bell & Lin (1994) as cause for the outburst, and seems to support the accretion burst scenario of Vorobyov & Basu (2006).

Conclusions - LDN1415
A new compact optical nebula in LDN1415 was found. The nebula is associated with a Class I source, L1415-IRS, which shows a bipolar appearance at near-infrared wavelengths. For the likely distance of 170 pc, its luminosity amounts to 0.13 Lsun - by far the least luminous member of the sparse sample of FUor and EXor objects. Our long-term, post-outburst optical and NIR photometric and optical spectroscopic monitoring (as indicated by the presence of a P Cygni profile of the H line) of L1415 nebula and its associated outburst source dating from 2006 October to 2011 March, suggest an EXor or FUor event.

Stellar Initial Mass Function - the IMF

The pioneering work by Salpeter (1955): - IMF in the mass range 0.4 10 Msun can be presented with power law or lognormal functions N (log m) m = -1.35 (0.4 m/Msun 10) Recent studies : - a break in the function around 1.0 Msun, and indication of universality (Kroupa 2001, 2002;

Muench et al. 2002, 2003). = = Is IMF Universal ? = =

+0.7 (0.01 m/Msun 0.08) -0.3 (0.08 m/Msun 0.50) -1.3 (0.50 m/Msun 1.00) -1.7 (m/Msun 1)

Trapezium Cluster : IMF from OB stars to Brown Dwarfs

1) IMF slope, = -1.2 (10 Msun 0.6 Msun)

Hydrogen burning limit

2) Break from the single power-law rise at 0.6 Msun 3) Followed by a flattening and slow rise reaching a peak at about 0.1 Msun (hydrogen burning limit) 4) Immediate steep decline into the substellar or brown dwarf regime.

Log M (Msun) Muench, Lada, et al. 2002

Embedded Young Clusters and the IMF

Stellar Clusters:
- equidistant, coeval populations of stars of similar chemical composition

Extremely young embedded clusters:

- present day mass functions, to a very good approximation, are their initial mass functions (IMFs) - well suited for determining the nature of the IMF for low mass stars and substellar objects

Ojha et al. 2009

IMF in Young Clusters

Be 59 2.5 - 16 M ; = -1.01 0.11 Stock 8 M > ~ 1 M ; = -1.38 0.12 M < ~ 1 M ; = -0.58 0.23

Pandey et al. (2008) Jose et al. (2008; 2011)

NGC 1624 0.7 - 26 M ; = -1.33 0.07

1.04-meter ARIES 1.05-meter KISO 2-meter HCT

Subaru Head Count of Low-mass Stars in W3 Main Subaru Telescope Press Release - January 29, 2009

Ojha et al. 2009

Thank You