Dippers and Dusty Disks Edges: A Unified Model
Bodman et al
A search for dips in observed stellar flux in the Upper Scorpius and ρ Ophiuchus star formation regions with the Kepler mission by Ansdell et al. primarily identified young, low mass stars (dippers) with low accretion rates and hosting moderately evolved dusty circumstellar disks. These young stars likely exhibit rotating star spots that cause quasi-periodic photometric variations. However, a separate period associated with the dips is not evident in spectrograms constructed from the light curves. The material causing the dips in most of these light curves must be approximately corotating with the star. We find that disk temperatures computed at the disk corotation radius are cool enough that dust should not sublimate. Dippers are preferentially associated with young, low mass stars as they have low enough luminosities to allow dust to survive within a few stellar radii. Crude estimates for stellar magnetic field strengths and accretion rates are consistent with magnetospheric truncation near the corotation radius. Magnetospheric truncation models can explain why dusty material is lifted out of the midplane to obscure the star causing the light curve dips and why so many young low mass stars are dippers. We propose that variations in disk orientation angle, stellar magnetic field dipole tilt axis, and disk accretion rate are underlying parameters accounting for differences in the dipper light curves.