X-ray emission from pre-main sequence stars

  • Eric D. Feigelson
1. Pre-Main Sequence Star
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 193)


The status and implications of recent X-ray studies of pre-main sequence (PMS) stars are reviewed in detail. Images of nearby star formation regions including the Orion, Taurus-Auriga, ρ Ophiuchi and Chamaeleon clouds obtained with the Einstein X-ray Observatory have revealed more than 150 X-ray luminous PMS stars to date. Some are classical strong emission line T Tauri stars while others are late-type PMS stars with weak or absent lines. The soft X-ray luminosities range from ≲ 1029 erg/s to several 1031 erg/s, or ∼103 times that of local main sequence stars. The X-ray emission is highly variable; most show large amplitude variations on timescales of days, and a few exhibit flares on timescales of 102–104 seconds. The rapid variations, hard spectra, and lack of correlation with wind-produced optical emission lines all point to a flare origin of the enhanced X-ray emission. Solar-type stars thus exhibit their most violent surface activity during their PMS stage of evolution. Implications for the conditions in PMS stars, stellar activity-rotation age relation, for the chemistry and evolution of molecular clouds, and for various chemical and isotopic anomalies in the ancient solar system are discussed.


Star Formation Solar Flare Tauri Star Isotopic Anomaly Orion Nebula 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric D. Feigelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AstronomyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park

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