The XMM-Newton extended survey of the Taurus molecular cloud (XEST)

M. Güdel, K. R. Briggs, K. Arzner, M. Audard, J. Bouvier, E. D. Feigelson, E. Franciosini, A. Glauser, N. Grosso, G. Micela, J. L. Monin, T. Montmerle, D. L. Padgett, F. Palla, I. Pillitteri, L. Rebull, L. Scelsi, B. Silva, S. L. Skinner, B. StelzerA. Telleschi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

255 Scopus citations


Context. The Taurus Molecular Cloud (TMC) is the nearest large star-forming region, prototypical for the distributed mode of lowmass star formation. Pre-main sequence stars are luminous X-ray sources, probably mostly owing to magnetic energy release. Aims. The XMM-Newton Extended Survey of the Taurus Molecular Cloud (XEST) presented in this paper surveys the most populated ≈5 square degrees of the TMC, using the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory to study the thermal structure, variability, and long-term evolution of hot plasma, to investigate the magnetic dynamo, and to search for new potential members of the association. Many targets are also studied in the optical, and high-resolution X-ray grating spectroscopy has been obtained for selected bright sources. Methods. The X-ray spectra have been coherently analyzed with two different thermal models (2-component thermal model, and a continuous emission measure distribution model). We present overall correlations with fundamental stellar parameters that were derived from the previous literature. A few detections from Chandra observations have been added. Results. The present overview paper introduces the project and provides the basic results from the X-ray analysis of all sources detected in the XEST survey. Comprehensive tables summarize the stellar properties of all targets surveyed. The survey goes deeper than previous X-ray surveys of Taurus by about an order of magnitude and for the first time systematically accesses very faint and strongly absorbed TMC objects. We find a detection rate of 85% and 98% for classical and weak-line T Tau stars (CTTS resp. WTTS), and identify about half of the surveyed protostars and brown dwarfs. Overall, 136 out of 169 surveyed stellar systems are detected. We describe an X-ray luminosity vs. mass correlation, discuss the distribution of X-ray-to-bolometric luminosity ratios, and show evidence for lower X-ray luminosities in CTTS compared to WTTS. Detailed analysis (e.g., variability, rotation-activity relations, influence of accretion on X-rays) will be discussed in a series of accompanying papers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-377
Number of pages25
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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