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Astron. Astrophys. 328, 187-202


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A study of the Chamaeleon star-forming region
from the ROSAT all-sky survey*

III. High resolution spectroscopic study

E. Covino1, J.M. Alcalá2,6, S. Allain3, J. Bouvier3,4, L. Terranegra1, and J. Krautter5

1Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Via Moiariello 16, I-80131 Napoli, Italy
2Max-Planck-Institute für Extraterrestrische Physik Giessenbachstr. 1, D-85740 Garching, Germany
3Laboratoire d'Astrophysique, Observatoire de Grenoble, Université Joseph Fourier, B.P. 53X, F-38041 Grenoble Cedex, France
4CFH Telescope Corporation, Kamuela, HI USA
5Landessternwarte Heidelberg, Königstuhl, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany
6Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Optica y Electrónica, A.P. 51 y 216 C.P. 72000, Puebla, México

Received 26 March 1997 / Accepted 30 June 1997

Abstract

We present the results of a high-resolution spectroscopic study on some 70 stars, discovered recently on the basis of the ROSAT all-sky survey spread over a wide area in the Chamaeleon star forming region and classified as new weak-line T Tauri stars.

We refine the previous spectral type classification, based on low-resolution spectra, and characterize each star in the sample according to the H$\alpha$ line profile.

We use the strength of Li I 6708, compared to Pleiades stars of the same spectral type, as a youth discriminator in order to recognize bona-fide pre-main sequence stars. According to the adopted ''lithium criterion'', more than 50% of the stars in our sample are confirmed to be truly young, PMS stars (most having age less than $5\times 10^6$ yr), while the remaining part seems mostly composed by active, young, foreground main-sequence stars (possibly Pleiades-like), which contaminate the original sample. We confirm the existence of some very young stars far from the main Chamaeleon clouds, while we do not find clear evidence for the presence of post-T Tauri stars in our sample.

We find that 5 stars in the sample are spectroscopic binaries and 1 is a spectroscopic triple system.

We derive radial and rotational velocities for all the stars in sample and analyse their distributions for different spectral type intervals. The radial velocity distribution shows a clear peak at about 15 km s-1, which coincides with the radial velocity of stars and gas in the Cha I cloud. However, the velocity dispersion of the weak-line T Tauri stars appears much broader and, possibly, a second peak is present around 16-18 km s-1.

A clear segregation in radial velocity is observed between the strong-lithium and the weak-lithium stars, with the former showing radial velocities which, in most cases, fall in the interval 12<RV [km/s] < 18, consistent with the radial velocity peak observed for the Cha I dark cloud, and the latter having somewhat different and more widely spread radial velocities. Some strong-lithium stars having radial velocities outside the aforementioned interval might be unrecognized spectroscopic binaries, but they may also be considered good candidates to be run-away T Tauri stars.

The $v\sin{i}$distribution of the confirmed WTTS is found to resemble very closely that of other pre-ROSAT PMS stars.

We conclude that the whole star forming region has a common origin, possibly related to the impact of a high-velocity cloud with the galactic plane.

Key words: stars: formation; pre-main sequence; late type; rotation - ISM: Chamaeleon clouds

*Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory at La Silla, Chile

Send offprint requests to: E. Covino


© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: October 30, 1997
Last change: March 24, 1998
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