Date of Award

12-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Physics and Astronomy

Advisor

Brittain, Sean

Committee Member

Hartmann , Dieter

Committee Member

Leising , Mark

Committee Member

Meyer , Bradley

Abstract

To better understand the labyrinth of heating and cooling processes in YSOs (young stellar objects), we study systems where there exists a large variability in the heating of this gas due to accretion. This research project focuses on several classes of early young eruptable T-Tauri stars, namely the FUors, the EXors and the so-called FU Ori-like, which all have the property of large amplitude oscillations in accretion rate. Each of these categories may well represent specific stages in early low-mass stellar evolution. While these objects have specific spectroscopic and circumstellar diagnostics (as means of identification) our research suggests that there are at least several objects that defy (typical) classification. The young objects ZCMa and L1551 IRS5 both show circumstellar diagnostics different from what is expected for an FUor (though ZCMa and L1551 are classified as
such). In ZCMa we see an obvious accretion event, but the ro-vibrational overtone lines of CO are in emission. Typically, for an accreting FUor, these lines would be in absorption due to the physics of the disk. Very strangely, we see the fundamental lines in emission. Because of the relationship between the Einstein A coefficients for these transitions, we would expect to see either both the fundamental and overtone lines together in emission or absorption. This mystery may be solved by modeling and before we can make an intelligent claim about the heating mechanisms in YSOs, we need to understand these special cases first (it may turn out that these are not-so-special after-all and are indicative of a subclass of the FUor or EXor class).

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