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Astron. Astrophys. 335, 218-226 (1998)

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The evolutionary status of activity-selected solar-type stars and of T Tauri stars as derived from Hipparcos parallaxes: evidence for long-lived T Tauri disks? *

F. Favata 1, G. Micela 2, S. Sciortino 2 and F. D'Antona 3

1 Astrophysics Division - Space Science Department of ESA, ESTEC, Postbus 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands
2 Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, I-90134 Palermo, Italy
3 Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, I-00040 Monte Porzio, Italy

Received 20 August 1997 / Accepted 16 February 1998


We have used the Hipparcos parallaxes to study the evolutionary status of a sample of stars with spectral types from late F to M0 (hereafter "solar-type stars"), selected on the basis of their activity, mainly from Einstein-based surveys. The parallaxes have been used to place the objects in the H-R diagram, determining their age by comparison with theoretical evolutionary tracks and observational main sequences. This age is compared with age estimates derived from the lithium abundance, the activity level and the presence of circumstellar disks. To complement our sample at the young end we have also studied the Hipparcos-determined distances of a sample of optically-selected pre-main sequence stars, mostly classical T Tauri stars (CTTS). Some CTTS appear to be much nearer to us than previously determined, and far away from their putative parent cloud. This implies a significantly larger age providing observational evidence for the existence of long-lived T Tauri disks which could produce slow rotators on the Zero-Age Main Sequence (ZAMS).

None of the above-mentioned age proxies appears to reliably and unambiguously select very young stars in the range of spectral types considered here, with some apparently very young objects effectively lying onto or very close to the main sequence. The attribution of ages to young solar-type stars on the basis of any of the standard proxies may thus significantly under- or over-estimate the evolutionary age of the object. Caution must therefore be exercised when attributing ages to individual stars, and claims about the large number of PMS stars found in X-ray based surveys may need to be at least in part reconsidered in this light.

Key words: stars: activity – stars: late-type – stars: evolution; stars: formation – x-rays: stars

* Based on data from the ESA Hipparcos satellite.

Send offprint requests to: F. Favata (e-mail: ffavata@astro.estec.esa.nl)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: June 12, 1998