Hubble Space Telescope STIS spectrum of RW Aurigae A: Evidence for an ionized beltlike structure and mass ejection in timescales of a few hours

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Profiles of the UV semiforbidden lines of C III](1908) and Si III](1892) of RW Aur have been obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) STIS. The C III](1908) profile shows two high-velocity components at upsilon = +/-170 km s(-1) and a central one. The Si III](1892) profile is very broad (FWHM = 293 km s(-1)), and the high-velocity components are unresolved. The high-velocity components are most probably produced in a rotating belt similar to that detected in other sources of bipolar outflows. A radius between 2.7 R-* and the corotation radius (6.1 R-*) is derived, and a log T-e(K) similar or equal to 4.7 and log n(e)(cm(-3)) = 11.6 are estimated. The belt is clumpy, and the most likely source of heating is local X-ray radiation, probably associated with the release of magnetic energy. In addition, profiles of the optical lines of He I, Fe II, and Halpha retrieved from the HST archive have been analyzed. The spectra were obtained by shifting the STIS slit between exposures in the transverse direction to the flow. Two features vary from one exposure to another: a blueshifted emission feature (detected in the Fe II and He I lines) and a redshifted absorption feature (detected in Halpha), which are observed at the velocity of the blueshifted and redshifted components of the jet, respectively. There is a clear-cut correlation between the equivalent widths of these two components. These components are not associated with the flaring activity of the source, since they remain stable timescales of similar or equal to40 minutes. They are most likely associated with variations in the stellar/circumstellar environment in timescales of a few (similar or equal to5) hours, consistent with reports by other authors for variations of the veiling and the appearance of shell signatures in the optical spectrum.
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