The JCMT Transient Survey: Four-year Summary of Monitoring the Submillimeter Variability of Protostars

Yong-Hee Lee, Doug Johnstone, Jeong-Eun Lee, Gregory Herczeg, Steve Mairs, Carlos Contreras-Peña, Jennifer Hatchell, Tim Naylor, Graham S. Bell, Tyler L. Bourke, Colton Broughton, Logan Francis, Aashish Gupta, Daniel Harsono, Sheng-Yuan Liu, Geumsook Park, Spencer Plovie, Gerald H. Moriarty-Schieven, Aleks Scholz, Tanvi SharmaPaula Stella Teixeira, Yao-Te Wang, Yuri Aikawa, Geoffrey C. Bower, Huei-Ru Vivien Chen, Jaehan Bae, Giseon Baek, Scott Chapman, Wen Ping Chen, Fujun Du, Somnath Dutta, Jan Forbrich, Zhen Guo, Shu-ichiro Inutsuka, Miju Kang, Helen Kirk, Yi-Jehng Kuan, Woojin Kwon, Shih-Ping Lai, Bhavana Lalchand, James M. M. Lane, Chin-Fei Lee, Tie Liu, Oscar Morata, Samuel Pearson, Andy Pon, Dipen Sahu, Hsien Shang, Dimitris Stamatellos, Shih-Yun Tang, Ziyan Xu, Hyunju Yoo

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We present the four-year survey results of monthly submillimeter monitoring of eight nearby ($<500 $pc) star-forming regions by the JCMT Transient Survey. We apply the Lomb-Scargle Periodogram technique to search for and characterize variability on 295 submillimeter peaks brighter than 0.14 Jy beam$^{-1}$, including 22 disk sources (Class II), 83 protostars (Class 0/I), and 190 starless sources. We uncover 18 secular variables, all of them protostars. No single-epoch burst or drop events and no inherently stochastic sources are observed. We classify the secular variables by their timescales into three groups: Periodic, Curved, and Linear. For the Curved and Periodic cases, the detectable fractional amplitude, with respect to mean peak brightness, is $\sim4$ % for sources brighter than $\sim$ 0.5 Jy beam$^{-1}$. Limiting our sample to only these bright sources, the observed variable fraction is 37 % (16 out of 43). Considering source evolution, we find a similar fraction of bright variables for both Class 0 and Class I. Using an empirically motivated conversion from submillimeter variability to variation in mass accretion rate, six sources (7 % of our full sample) are predicted to have years-long accretion events during which the excess mass accreted reaches more than 40 % above the total quiescently accreted mass: two previously known eruptive Class I sources, V1647 Ori and EC 53 (V371 Ser), and four Class 0 sources, HOPS 356, HOPS 373, HOPS 383, and West 40. Considering the full protostellar ensemble, the importance of episodic accretion on few years timescale is negligible, only a few percent of the assembled mass. However, given that this accretion is dominated by events of order the observing time-window, it remains uncertain as to whether the importance of episodic events will continue to rise with decades-long monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Article number119
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2021


  • astro-ph.SR
  • astro-ph.GA


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