Saturday, October 24, 2015

RW Aurigae & V409 Tau's Protoplanetary Disk Anomalies

First Results from the Disk Eclipse Search with KELT (DESK) Survey


Rodrigruez et al


Using time-series photometry from the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) exoplanet survey, we are looking for eclipses of stars by their protoplanetary disks, specifically in young stellar associations. To date, we have discovered two previously unknown, large dimming events around the young stars RW Aurigae and V409 Tau. We attribute the dimming of RW Aurigae to an occultation by its tidally disrupted disk, with the disruption perhaps resulting from a recent flyby of its binary companion. Even with the dynamical environment of RW Aurigae, the distorted disk material remains very compact and presumably capable of forming planets. This system also shows that strong binary interactions with disks can also influence planet and core composition by stirring up and mixing materials during planet formation. We interpret the dimming of V409 Tau to be due to a feature, possibly a warp or perturbation, lying at least 10 AU from the host star in its nearly edge-on circumstellar disk.

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