Accretion and extinction variations in the low-mass pre-main sequence binary system WX Cha

Eleonora Fiorellino, Gabriella Zsidi, Agnes Kospal, Peter Abraham, Attila Bodi, Gaitee Hussain, Carlo F. Manara, Andras Pal

Submitted on 9 September 2022


Light curves of young star systems show photometric variability due to different kinematic, and physical processes. One of the main contributors to the photometric variability is the changing mass accretion rate, which regulates the interplay between the forming young star and the protoplanetary disk. We collected high-resolution spectroscopy in eight different epochs, as well as ground-based and space-borne multi-epoch optical and infrared photometry of WX Cha, an M0 binary system, with an almost edge-on disk (i = 87degrees) in the Chamaeleon I star-forming region. Spectroscopic observations cover 72 days, the ground-based optical monitoring covers 42 days while space-borne TESS photometry extends for 56 days. The multi-wavelength light curves exhibit quasi-periodic variability of 0.35 - 0.53 mag in the near-infrared, and of 1.3 mag in g band. We studied the variability of selected emission lines that trace the accretion, computed the accretion luminosity and the mass accretion rate using empirical relations and obtained values of the accretion luminosity between 1.6 and 3.2 Lsun and mass accretion rate between 3.31x10{-7} Msun/yr and 7.76x10^{-7} Msun/yr. Our results show that WX Cha is accreting at a rate larger than what is typical for T Tauri stars in the same star-forming region with the same stellar parameters. We theorize that this is due to the higher disk mass of WX Cha than what is usual for stars with similar stellar mass, and to the binary nature of the system. Daily changes in the accretion luminosity and in the extinction can explain the photometric variability.


Subject: Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics