VLBI observations of TTauri South

K. Smith, M. Pestalozzi, M. Guedel, J. Conway, A.O. Benz

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    Abstract

    We report observations of the T Tauri system at 8.4 GHz with a VLBI array comprising the VLBA, VLA and E elsberg 100 m telescopes. We detected a compact source o set approximately 40 mas from the best infrared position of the T Tau Sb component. This source was unresolved, and constrained to be less than 0.5 mas in size, corresponding to 0.07 AU or 15 R at a distance of 140 pc. The other system components (T Tau Sa, T Tau N) were not detected in the VLBI data. The separate VLA map contains extended flux not accounted for by the compact VLBI source, indicating the presence of extended emission on arcsecond scales. The compact source shows rapid variability, which together with circular polarization and its compact nature indicate that the observed flux arises from a magnetically-dominated region. Brightness temperatures in the MK range point to gyrosynchrotron as the emission mechanism for the steady component. The rapid variations are accompanied by dramatic changes in polarization, and we record an at times 100% polarized component during outbursts. This strongly suggests a coherent emission process, most probably an electron cyclotron maser. With this assumption it is possible to estimate the strength of the local magnetic field to be 1.5−3 kilogauss.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)957-967
    JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
    Volume406
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003

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