Resolved Near-Infrared Spectroscopy of the Mysterious Pre-Main Sequence Binary System T

Abstract

We obtained new near-infrared images of the prototypical pre-main sequence triple system T Tau, as well as the first resolved medium-resolution spectra of the close pair T Tau S. At the time of our observations, the tight binary had a 13 AU projected separation and showed significant motion since its discovery, three years before. The orbit cannot be strongly constrained yet, but the observed motion of T Tau Sb with respect to T Tau Sa suggests that the system is at least as massive as T Tau N itself. This may indicate that T Tau N is not the most massive star in the system. The spectrum of T Tau Sa, which is totally featureless except for a strong Brγ emission line, identifies this component with the " infrared companion " , whose exact nature remains obscure but may be the consequence of it being the most massive component of the system. Contrasting sharply with T Tau Sa, the spectrum of T Tau Sb shows numerous photospheric features consistent with an early-M spectral type. The presence of a strong Brγ emission line and of a significant veiling continuum classifies this object as a deeply embedded T Tauri star. From these observations, we conclude that both components of T Tau S are embedded in their own dense circumstellar cocoon of material, which are probably fed by a much more extended structure. Subject headings: binaries: close — circumstellar matter — stars: pre-main-sequence — stars: individual (T Tau S)

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