A Caltech Library Service

CSI 2264: Characterizing Accretion-Burst Dominated Light Curves for Young Stars in NGC 2264

Stauffer, John and Cody, Ann Marie and Rebull, Luisa and Carey, Sean and Hillenbrand, Lynne A. and Carpenter, John and Findeisen, Krzysztof and Plavchan, Peter (2014) CSI 2264: Characterizing Accretion-Burst Dominated Light Curves for Young Stars in NGC 2264. Astronomical Journal, 147 (4). Art. No. 83. ISSN 0004-6256. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/147/4/83.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Based on more than four weeks of continuous high cadence photometric monitoring of several hundred members of the young cluster NGC 2264 with two space telescopes, NASA’s Spitzer and the CNES CoRoT (Convection, Rotation, and planetary Transits), we provide high quality, multi-wavelength light curves for young stellar objects (YSOs) whose optical variability is dominated by short duration flux bursts, which we infer are due to enhanced mass accretion rates. These light curves show many brief – several hour to one day – brightenings at optical and near-infrared (IR) wavelengths with amplitudes generally in the range 5-50% of the quiescent value. Typically, a dozen or more of these bursts occur in a thirty day period. We demonstrate that stars exhibiting this type of variability have large ultraviolet (UV) excesses and dominate the portion of the u − g vs. g − r color-color diagram with the largest UV excesses. These stars also have large Hɑ equivalent widths, and either centrally peaked, lumpy Hɑ emission profiles or profiles with blue-shifted absorption dips associated with disk or stellar winds. Light curves of this type have been predicted for stars whose accretion is dominated by Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities at the boundary between their magnetosphere and inner circumstellar disk, or where magneto-rotational instabilities modulate the accretion rate from the inner disk. Amongst the stars with the largest UV excesses or largest Hɑ equivalent widths, light curves with this type of variability greatly outnumber light curves with relatively smooth sinusoidal variations associated with long-lived hot spots. We provide quantitative statistics for the average duration and strength of the accretion bursts and for the fraction of the accretion luminosity associated with these bursts.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Stauffer, John0000-0003-3595-7382
Cody, Ann Marie0000-0002-3656-6706
Rebull, Luisa0000-0001-6381-515X
Carey, Sean0000-0002-0221-6871
Carpenter, John0000-0003-2251-0602
Plavchan, Peter0000-0002-8864-1667
Additional Information:© 2014 American Astronomical Society. Received 2013 November 9; accepted 2014 January 21; published 2014 March 13. This work is based on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. Support for this work was provided by NASA through an award issued by JPL/Caltech.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:accretion, accretion disks; circumstellar matter; stars: formation; stars: pre-main sequence; stars: variables: T Tauri, Herbig Ae/Be
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140224-104936034
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:CSI 2264: Characterizing Accretion-burst Dominated Light Curves for Young Stars in NGC 2264 John Stauffer et al. 2014 The Astronomical Journal 147 83
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:43944
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:24 Feb 2014 19:17
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:45

Repository Staff Only: item control page