Accretion-related properties of Herbig Ae/Be stars. Comparison with T Tauris

Research paper by I. Mendigutía, A. Mora, B. Montesinos, C. Eiroa, G. Meeus, B. Merín, R. D. Oudmaijer

Indexed on: 21 May '12Published on: 21 May '12Published in: arXiv - Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics


We look for trends relating the mass accretion rate (Macc) and the stellar ages (t), spectral energy distributions (SEDs), and disk masses (Mdisk) for a sample of 38 HAeBe stars, comparing them to analogous correlations found for classical T Tauri stars. Our goal is to shed light on the timescale and physical processes that drive evolution of intermediate-mass pre-main sequence objects. Macc shows a dissipation timescale \tau = 1.3^{+1.0}_{-0.5} Myr from an exponential law fit, while a power law yields Macc(t) \propto t^{-\eta}, with \eta = 1.8^{+1.4}_{-0.7}. This result is based on our whole HAeBe sample (1-6 Msun), but the accretion rate decline most probably depends on smaller stellar mass bins. The near-IR excess is higher and starts at shorter wavelengths (J and H bands) for the strongest accretors. Active and passive disks are roughly divided by 2 x 10^{-7} Msun/yr. The mid-IR excess and the SED shape from the Meeus et al. classification are not correlated with Macc. We find Macc \propto Mdisk^{1.1 +- 0.3}. Most stars in our sample with signs of inner dust dissipation typically show accretion rates ten times lower and disk masses three times smaller than the remaining objects. The trends relating Macc with the near-IR excess and Mdisk extend those for T Tauri stars, and are consistent with viscous disk models. The differences in the inner gas dissipation timescale, and the relative position of the stars with signs of inner dust clearing in the Macc-Mdisk plane, could be suggesting a slightly faster evolution, and that a different process - such as photoevaporation - plays a more relevant role in dissipating disks in the HAeBe regime compared to T Tauri stars. Our conclusions must consider the mismatch between the disk mass estimates from mm fluxes and the disk mass estimates from accretion, which we also find in HAeBe stars.