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Accretion dynamics and disk evolution in NGC 2264: a study based on the Corot photometric observations

S. Alencar, P. S. Teixeira, M. M. Guimarães, P. T. McGinnis, J. F. Gameiro, J. Bouvier, S. Aigrain, E. Flaccomio, F. Favata

Context. The young cluster NGC 2264 was observed with the Corot satellite for 23 days uninterruptedly in March 2008 with unprecedent photometric accuracy. We present here the first results of the analysis of the accreting population that belongs to the cluster and was observed by Corot.
Aims. We intended to look for possible light curve variability of the same nature as that observed in the classical T Tauri star AA Tau, which was attributed to a magnetically controlled inner disk warp. The inner warp dynamics is directly associated with the interaction between the stellar magnetic field and the inner disk region.
Methods. We analysed the Corot light curves of 83 previously known classical T Tauri stars that belong to NGC 2264 and classified them according to their morphology. We also studied the Corot light curve morphology as a function of a Spitzer-based classification of the star-disk systems.
Results. The classification derived on the basis of the Corot light curve morphology agrees very well with the Spitzer IRAC-based classification of the systems. The percentage of AA Tau-like light curves decreases as the inner disk dissipates, from 40% ± 10% in systems with thick inner disks to 36% ± 16% in systems with anemic disks and none in naked photosphere systems. Indeed, 91% ± 29% of the CTTS with naked photospheres exhibit pure spot-like variability, while only 18% ± 7% of the thick disk systems do so, presumably those seen at low inclination and thus free of variable obscuration.
Conclusions. AA Tau-like light curves are found to be fairly common, with a frequency of at least ~ 30 to 40% in young stars with inner dusty disks. The temporal evolution of the light curves indicates that the structure of the inner disk warp, located close to the corotation radius and responsible for the obscuration episodes, varies over a timescale of a few (~1-3) rotational periods. This probably reflects the highly dynamical nature of the star-disk magnetospheric interaction.

accretion, accretion disks - techniques: photometric - stars: pre-main sequence

The CoRoT space mission was developed and is operated by the French space agency CNES, with participation of ESA’s RSSD and Science Programmes, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, and Spain
Table 1 is only availablçe in electronic form at

Astronomy & Astrophysics
Volume 519, Number of pages A88_1
2010 September

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia