Chandra Resolves the T Tauri Binary System RW Aur
RW Aur is a multiple T Tauri system consisting of an early-K type primary (A) and a K5 companion (B) at a separation of 1.4 arcsec. RW Aur A drives a bipolar optical jet that is well-characterized optically. We present results of a sensitive Chandra observation whose primary objective was to search for evidence of soft extended X-ray emission along the jet, as has been seen for a few other nearby T Tauri stars. The binary is clearly resolved by Chandra and both stars are detected as X-ray sources. The X-ray spectra of both stars reveal evidence for cool and hot plasma. Suprisingly, the X-ray luminosity of the less-massive secondary is at least twice that of the primary and is variable. The disparity is attributed to the primary whose X-ray luminosity is at the low end of the range for classical T Tauri stars of similar mass based on established correlations. Deconvolved soft-band images show evidence for slight outward elongation of the source structure of RW Aur A along the blueshifted jet axis inside the central arcsecond. In addition, a faint X-ray emission peak is present on the redshifted axis at an offset of 1.2 +- 0.2 arcsec from the star. Deprojected jet speeds determined from previous optical studies are too low to explain this faint emission peak as shock-heated jet plasma. Thus, unless flow speeds in the redshifted jet have been underestimated, other mechanisms such as magnetic jet heating may be involved.
Authors: Stephen L. Skinner, Manuel Guedel