Context. High resolution X-ray spectroscopy has revealed soft X-rays from high density plasma in classical T Tauri stars (CTTSs), probably arising from the accretion shock region. However, the mass accretion rates derived from the X-ray observations are consistently lower than those derived from UV/optical/NIR studies.Aims: We aim to test the hypothesis that the high density soft X-ray emission originates from accretion by analysing, in a homogeneous manner, optical accretion indicators for an X-ray selected sample of CTTSs.Methods: We analyse optical spectra of the X-ray selected sample of CTTSs and calculate the accretion rates based on measuring the Hα, Hβ, Hγ, He ii 4686 Å, He i 5016 Å, He i 5876 Å, O i 6300 Å, and He i 6678 Å equivalent widths. In addition, we also calculate the accretion rates based on the full width at 10% maximum of the Hα line. The different optical tracers of accretion are compared and discussed. The derived accretion rates are then compared to the accretion rates derived from the X-ray spectroscopy.Results: We find that, for each CTTS in our sample, the different optical tracers predict mass-accretion rates that agree within the errors, albeit with a spread of ≈ 1 order of magnitude. Typically, mass-accretion rates derived from Hα and He i 5876 Å are larger than those derived from Hβ, Hγ, and O i. In addition, the Hα full width at 10%, whilst a good indicator of accretion, may not accurately measure the mass-accretion rate. When the optical mass-accretion rates are compared to the X-ray derived mass-accretion rates, we find that: a) the latter are always lower (but by varying amounts); b) the latter range within a factor of ≈ 2 around 2 × 10-10 Msun yr-1, despite the former spanning a range of ≈ 3 orders of magnitude. We suggest that the systematic underestimate of the X-ray derived mass-accretion rates could depend on the density distribution inside the accretion streams, where the densest part of the stream is not visible in the X-ray band because of the absorption by the stellar atmosphere. We also suggest that a non-negligible optical depth of X-ray emission lines produced by post-shock accreting plasma may explain the almost constant mass-accretion rates derived in X-rays if the effect is larger in stars with higher optical mass-accretion rates.
|Numero di pagine||11|
|Rivista||ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2011|
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