CSI 2264: Simultaneous optical and infrared light curves of young disk-bearing stars in NGC 2264 with CoRoT and Spitzer-- evidence for multiple origins of variability

Ann Marie Cody, John Stauffer, Annie Baglin, Giuseppina Micela, Luisa M. Rebull, Ettore Flaccomio, María Morales-Calderón, Suzanne Aigrain, Jèrôme Bouvier, Lynne A. Hillenbrand, Robert Gutermuth, Inseok Song, Neal Turner, Silvia H. P. Alencar, Konstanze Zwintz, Peter Plavchan, John Carpenter, Krzysztof Findeisen, Sean Carey, Susan TerebeyLee Hartmann, Nuria Calvet, Paula Teixeira, Frederick J. Vrba, Scott Wolk, Kevin Covey, Katja Poppenhaeger, Hans Moritz Günther, Jan Forbrich, Barbara Whitney, Laura Affer, William Herbst, Joseph Hora, David Barrado, Jon Holtzman, Franck Marchis, Kenneth Wood, Marcelo Medeiros Guimarães, Jorge Lillo Box, Ed Gillen, Amy McQuillan, Catherine Espaillat, Lori Allen, Paola D'Alessio, Fabio Favata

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We present the Coordinated Synoptic Investigation of NGC 2264, a continuous 30-day multi-wavelength photometric monitoring campaign on more than 1000 young cluster members using 16 telescopes. The unprecedented combination of multi-wavelength, high-precision, high-cadence, and long-duration data opens a new window into the time domain behavior of young stellar objects. Here we provide an overview of the observations, focusing on results from Spitzer and CoRoT. The highlight of this work is detailed analysis of 162 classical T Tauri stars for which we can probe optical and mid-infrared flux variations to 1% amplitudes and sub-hour timescales. We present a morphological variability census and then use metrics of periodicity, stochasticity, and symmetry to statistically separate the light curves into seven distinct classes, which we suggest represent different physical processes and geometric effects. We provide distributions of the characteristic timescales and amplitudes, and assess the fractional representation within each class. The largest category (>20%) are optical "dippers" having discrete fading events lasting ~1-5 days. The degree of correlation between the optical and infrared light curves is positive but weak; notably, the independently assigned optical and infrared morphology classes tend to be different for the same object. Assessment of flux variation behavior with respect to (circum)stellar properties reveals correlations of variability parameters with H$\alpha$ emission and with effective temperature. Overall, our results point to multiple origins of young star variability, including circumstellar obscuration events, hot spots on the star and/or disk, accretion bursts, and rapid structural changes in the inner disk.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages47
JournalThe Astronomical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2014


  • astro-ph.SR


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