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Variable Accretion Processes in the Young Binary-Star System UY Aur

We present new K-band spectroscopy of the UY Aur binary star system. Our data are the first to show H2 emission in the spectrum of UY Aur A and the first to spectrally resolve the Br{\gamma} line in the spectrum of UY Aur B. We see an increase in the strength of the Br{\gamma} line in UY Aur A and a decrease in Br{\gamma} and H2 line luminosity for UY Aur B compared to previous studies. Converting Br{\gamma} line luminosity to accretion rate, we infer that the accretion rate onto UY Aur A has increased by 2×10−9 M⊙ yr−1 per year since a rate of zero was observed in 1994. The Br{\gamma} line strength for UY Aur B has decreased by a factor of 0.54 since 1994, but the K-band flux has increased by 0.9 mags since 1998. The veiling of UY Aur B has also increased significantly. These data evince a much more luminous disk around UY Aur B. If the lower Br{\gamma} luminosity observed in the spectrum of UY Aur B indicates an intrinsically smaller accretion rate onto the star, then UY Aur A now accretes at a higher rate than UY Aur B. However, extinction at small radii or mass pile-up in the circumstellar disk could explain decreased Br{\gamma} emission around UY Aur B even when the disk luminosity implies an increased accretion rate. In addition to our scientific results for the UY Aur system, we discuss a dedicated pipeline we have developed for the reduction of echelle-mode data from the ARIES spectrograph.

Authors: Jordan M. Stone, J. A. Eisner, Colette Salyk, Craig Kulesa, Don McCarthy

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