X-ray and extreme-ultraviolet emission from the coronae of Capella

Francis Keenan, Michail Mathioudakis, D.R. Williams, M.E. Phillips, K.J.H. Phillips, D.P. Huenemoerder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The primary objective of this work is the analysis and interpretation of coronal observations of Capella obtained in 1999 September with the High Energy Transmission Grating Spectrometer on the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE). He-like lines of O (O vii) are used to derive a density of 1.7 x 10(10) cm(-3) for the coronae of the binary, consistent with the upper limits derived from Fe xxi, Ne ix and Mg xi line ratios. Previous estimates of the electron density based on Fe xxi should be considered as upper limits. We construct emission measure distributions and compare the theoretical and observed spectra to conclude that the coronal material has a temperature distribution that peaks around 4-6 MK, implying that the coronae of Capella were significantly cooler than in the previous years. In addition, we present an extended line list with over 100 features in the 5-24 Angstrom wavelength range, and find that the X-ray spectrum is very similar to that of a solar flare observed with SMM. The observed to theoretical Fe xvii 15.012-Angstrom line intensity reveals that opacity has no significant effect on the line flux. We derive an upper limit to the optical depth, which we combine with the electron density to derive an upper limit of 3000 km for the size of the Fe xvii emitting region. In the same context, we use the Si iv transition region lines of Capella from HST/Goddard High-Resolution Spectrometer observations to show that opacity can be significant at T = 10(5) K, and derive a path-length of approximate to 75 kin for the transition region. Both the coronal and transition region observations are consistent with very small emitting regions, which could be explained by small loops over the stellar surfaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1500-1510
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume325
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science

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