February 2023 • 2023A&A...670A.142S
Context. Veiling is ubiquitous at different wavelength ranges in classical T Tauri stars. However, the origin of the veiling in the infrared (IR) domain is not well understood at present. The accretion spot alone is not enough to explain the shallow photospheric IR lines in accreting systems, suggesting that another source is contributing to the veiling in the near-infrared (NIR). The inner disk is often quoted as the additional emitting source meant to explain the IR veiling.
Aims: In this work, we aim to measure and discuss the NIR veiling to understand its origins and variability timescale.
Methods: We used a sample of 14 accreting stars observed with the CFHT/SPIRou spectrograph, within the framework of the SPIRou Legacy Survey, to measure the NIR veiling along the YJHK bands. We compared the veiling measurements with accretion and inner disk diagnostics. We also analyzed circumstellar emission lines and photometric observations from the literature.
Results: The measured veiling grows from the Y to the K band for most of the targets in our sample. The IR veiling agrees with NIR emission excess obtained using photometric data. However, we also find a linear correlation between the veiling and the accretion properties of the system, showing that accretion contributes to the inner disk heating and, consequently, to the inner disk emission excess. We also show a connection between the NIR veiling and the system's inclination with respect to our line of sight. This is probably due to the reduction of the visible part of the inner disk edge, where the NIR emission excess is expected to arise, as the inclination of the system increases. Our search for periods on the veiling variability showed that the IR veiling is not clearly periodic in the typical timescale of stellar rotation - which, again, is broadly consistent with the idea that the veiling comes from the inner disk region. The NIR veiling appears variable on a timescale of a day, showing the night-by-night dynamics of the optical veiling variability. In the long term, the mean NIR veiling seems to be stable for most of the targets on timescales of a month to a few years. However, during occasional episodes of high accretion in classical T Tauri stars, which affect the system's dynamic, the veiling also seems to be much more prominent at such times, as we found in the case of the target RU Lup.
Conclusions: We provide further evidence that for most targets in our sample, the veiling that mainly occurs in the JHK bands arises from dust in the inner disk.