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Low-Mass Pre-Main Sequence Stars and Their X-ray Emission

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Science  30 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5317, pp. 1363-1370
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5317.1363

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To investigate the formation and early evolution of stars, astronomers study the x-ray emission of T Tauri stars, which are young, solar-mass stars called pre–main sequence stars. Two Earth-orbiting x-ray satellites, the Röntgen X-ray Satellite (ROSAT) and the Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics (ASCA), have discovered x-ray emission from young protostars, called Class I objects. Many T Tauri stars were detected as x-ray sources by ROSAT. X-ray luminosity functions and correlations with other stellar parameters can be studied and used to investigate the x-ray emission mechanism. From the ROSAT data hundreds of T Tauri stars have been discovered, some of which are located outside regions of ongoing star formation. Stellar x-rays also irradiate circumstellar disks, regions where planets may form, so x-ray emission data from T Tauri stars may also be used to investigate the formation of planets.

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