X-ray variability of σ orionis young stars as observed with ROSAT

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We used the Aladin Virtual Observatory tool and High Resolution Imager ROSAT archival data to search for X-ray variability in scale of days in 23 young stars in the σ Orionis cluster and a background galaxy. Five stars displayed unambiguous flares and had probabilities p_(var) » 99% of being actual variables. Two of the detected flares were violent and long lasting, with maximum duration of six days and amplitude of eight times above the quiescent level. We classified another four stars as possible X-ray variables, including the binary system formed by the B2Vp star σ Ori E and its close late-type companion. This makes a minimum frequency of high-amplitude X-ray variability in excess of a day of 39% among σ Orionis stars. The incidence of this kind of X-ray variability seems to be lower among classical T Tauri stars with mid-infrared flux excesses than among fast-rotating, disk-less young stars.
© 2009. The American Astronomical Society. We are grateful to the anonymous referee, J. F. Albacete Colombo, and J. Sanz-Forcada for helpful discussion and advice. Financial support was provided by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid, the Spanish Ministerio Educación y Ciencia, and the European Social Fund under grants: AyA2005- 02750, AyA2005-04286, AyA2005-24102-E, AyA2008-06423- C03-03, AyA2008-00695, PRICIT S-0505/ESP-0237, and CSD2006-0070. This research has made use of the SIMBAD, operated at Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg, France, and the NASA’s Astrophysics Data System.
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