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A triple star in disarray: Multi-epoch observations of T Tauri with VLT-SPHERE and LBT-LUCI

Abstract : Aims. T Tauri remains an enigmatic triple star for which neither the evolutionary state of the stars themselves, nor the geometry of the complex outflow system is completely understood. Eight-meter class telescopes equipped with state-of-the-art adaptive optics provide the spatial resolution necessary to trace tangential motion of features over a timescale of a few years, and they help to associate them with the different outflows. Methods. We used J-, H-, and K-band high-contrast coronagraphic imaging with VLT-SPHERE recorded between 2016 and 2018 to map reflection nebulosities and obtain high precision near-infrared (NIR) photometry of the triple star. We also present H2 emission maps of the ν = 1-0 S(1) line at 2.122 μm obtained with LBT-LUCI during its commissioning period at the end of 2016. Results. The data reveal a number of new features in the system, some of which are seen in reflected light and some are seen in H2 emission; furthermore, they can all be associated with the main outflows. The tangential motion of the features provides compelling evidence that T Tauri Sb drives the southeast–northwest outflow. T Tauri Sb has recently faded probably because of increased extinction as it passes through the southern circumbinary disk. While Sb is approaching periastron, T Tauri Sa instead has brightened and is detected in all our J-band imagery for the first time.
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Contributor : Laurine Wibaux <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 1:11:44 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 3:10:54 AM


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Marcus Kasper, Kalyan Santhakumari, Tom Herbst, Roy van Boekel, F. Ménard, et al.. A triple star in disarray: Multi-epoch observations of T Tauri with VLT-SPHERE and LBT-LUCI. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2020, 644, pp.A114. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202039186⟩. ⟨hal-03172004⟩



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