Astronomers investigate a mysterious dimming of the young star

In a new study conducted by a team of astronomers led by Simon Scaringi from the Institute for extraterrestrial physics, max Planck Society, Germany, discusses the mysterious dimming of the recently discovered stellar object, the designation of EPIC 204278916.

EPIC 204278916 is a young star pre-main sequence (pre-main-sequence star, PMS), whose age is about 5 million years spectral class M1, located in the Upper subgroup of the Scorpio OB Association stars Scorpius-Centaurus. The size of this star are about the same as the Sun, but the weight is only 0.5 solar masses. This young stellar object was discovered during observations in the extended mission the space telescope “Kepler” NASA called K2. Additional observations using the radio telescope Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) located in Chile has revealed that this object also has a circumstellar disk.

In the new work Scaringi and his colleagues analyzed data on this object, obtained with the K2 mission and the ALMA Observatory and located in the Ecliptic Plane Input Catalog (EPIC) and the archive of the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescope (MAST), to determine the nature of the mysterious dips in the curve of luminosity of the star.

The depth of these dips in the curve of luminosity sometimes reached 65 percent, while a series of irregular setbacks of the luminosity was observed for 25 consecutive days from 79 days, during which were made the observations of this star.

“We have studied the curve of luminosity of the object 204278916 EPIC in detail and put forward hypotheses about the causes of these mysterious declines luminosity. So, in our opinion, these irregular changes of the luminosity are caused by either distortion of the inner edge of the circumstellar disk, or by passing on the observed disk of the object cometary object moving along a circular or elongated orbits,” write the researchers.

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