Limits on eclipses of the pre-main-sequence star KH 15D in the first half of the 20th century

Joshua N. Winn, Peter M. Garnavich, K. Z. Stanek, Dimitar D. Sasselov

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Over the last decade, the pre-main-sequence star KH 15D has exhibited periodic eclipses that are surprisingly deep (∼3 mag) and long-lasting (∼40% of the 48.4 day period). The cause of the eclipses is unknown, but it could be a feature in a nearly edge-on protoplanetary disk. Here we report on an analysis of archival photographs of KH 15D from the Harvard College Observatory plate collection, most of which were taken during the years 1913-1951. During this time range, the data are consistent with no eclipses; the duty cycle of 1 mag eclipses was less than 20%. The decadal timescale of this change in eclipse behavior is compatible with the expected timescale of protoplanet/disk interactions. Archival images from more recent epochs should reveal the onset of the eclipses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L121-L124
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 II
StatePublished - Aug 20 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Open clusters and associations: individual (NGC 2264)
  • Planetary systems: protoplanetary disks
  • Stars: individual (KH 15D)
  • Stars: pre-main-sequence


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