Evidence for Transparency and Clumps in the Circumbinary Ring of the T Tauri Star V582 Mon (KH 15D)

Aylin Garciá Soto, Aylin Garciá Soto, Aleezah Ali, Amanda Newmark, William Herbst, Diana Windemuth, Joshua N. Winn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The binary T Tauri star V582 Mon (KH 15D) is surrounded by a tilted and nodally precessing ring of dusty material, which has caused periodic occultations of one or both stars over the last 50 years. Here, we present multi-color time-series photometry (VRIJHK) throughout the 2017/2018 observing season, when the ring was covering the entire orbit of star A and gradually exposing the orbit of star B. We calculate the mean apparent magnitude of star B to be I = 14.08. Besides the periodic eclipses of star B due to its orbital motion, we observed unexpected dips in brightness indicative of partially transparent stellar-sized clumps within the ring. The wavelength dependence of these events is suggestive of extinction by dust grains significantly larger than typical interstellar dust grains. The photometric variability observed while star B is being uncovered by the trailing edge of the ring is not simply the time reversal of the behavior seen when star A was being covered by the leading edge. Whereas the leading edge appeared to be very sharply defined, the trailing edge is "clumpy"and "fuzzy"(transparent), with a more gradual transition in opacity. The clumpiness and transparency of the occulting material provide a unique opportunity to study the properties of dust grains in a likely planet-forming zone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number135
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume159
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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