Monday, March 18, 2013

1303.3629 (Krzysztof Findeisen et al.)

Disk-Related Bursts and Fades in Young Stars    [PDF]

Krzysztof Findeisen, Lynne Hillenbrand, Eran Ofek, David Levitan, Branimir Sesar, Russ Laher, Jason Surace
We present first results from a new, multiyear, time domain survey of young stars in the North America Nebula complex using the Palomar Transient Factory. Our survey is providing an unprecedented view of aperiodic variability in young stars on timescales of days to years. The analyzed sample covers R_PTF = 13.5-18 and spans a range of mid-infrared color, with larger-amplitude optical variables (exceeding 0.4 mag root-mean-squared) more likely to have mid-infrared evidence for circumstellar material. This paper characterizes infrared excess stars with distinct bursts above or fades below a baseline of lower-level variability, identifying 41 examples. The light curves exhibit a remarkable diversity of amplitudes, timescales, and morphologies, with a continuum of behaviors that can not be classified into distinct groups. Among the bursters, we identify three particularly promising sources that may represent theoretically predicted short-timescale accretion instabilities. Finally, we find that fading behavior is approximately twice as common as bursting behavior on timescales of days to years, although the bursting and fading duty cycle for individual objects often varies from year to year.
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