Stellar X-ray Emission in the Orion Nebula Region

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Session 99 -- Molecular Clouds and Star Formation
Oral presentation, Friday, January 14, 2:15-3:45, Salon VI Room (Crystal Gateway)

[99.02] Stellar X-ray Emission in the Orion Nebula Region

M. Gagn\'e, J.-P. Caillault (University of Georgia), J. R. Stauffer (CfA)

We present results from two comprehensive imaging X-ray surveys of the Orion Nebula star-forming complex. We have analyzed three deep ROSAT High Resolution Imager (HRI) pointings of a 0.8 square degree region around the Trapezium. In addition, we have completed our analysis of 17 Einstein Imaging Proportional Counter and 6 Einstein HRI fields covering roughly 4.5 square degrees, also centered on the Trapezium. In total, more than 450 distinct sources of emission brighter than $L_{\rm X} \sim 10^{30}~erg~s^{-1}$ have been detected; $\sim$ 320 of these have been identified with certain or probable cluster members. The vast majority of the X-ray sources are associated with intermediate and low-mass pre-main sequence (PMS) cluster members. No correlation between X-ray activity and rotation is evident among the handful of stars with measured rotational velocity and/or period. The low-mass PMS stars show signs of saturated X-ray activity, with relative X-ray luminosity $L_{\rm X}/L_{\rm bol} \sim 10^{-3}$. We compare these results with those obtained in other star-forming regions such as $\rho$~Ophiuchi, Taurus-Aurigae, and Chamaeleon I. Nearly all the O and B-type stars observed by ROSAT were detected with $L_{\rm X}/L_{\rm bol}$ in the range $10^{-7.3}$ to $10^{-5.3}$. Also detected by ROSAT are 5 sources whose only candidate optical counterparts are main-sequence B6-A5 stars. These stars are thought to be incapable of producing detectable X-ray emission. Since only $\sim$ 20\% of the observed B6-A5 stars are detected, we argue that the observed emission is probably not produced by the B6-A5 stars but, rather, in the coronae of unseen late-type companions. An X-ray light-curve analysis has been performed on both the Einstein and ROSAT data sets, revealing a total of $\sim$ 25 flaring events. Over the course of the Einstein and ROSAT observations, emission from a number of sources was measured many times, allowing us to examine long-term variability on the time scale of a few months between individual Einstein or ROSAT exposures and on the time scale of a decade between the two missions.

Research support has been provided by NASA through grants NAGW-2698, NAG5-1608, and NAG5-1610.

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