AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

The First Results from the DESK Survey (Abstract)

Volume 44 number 1 (2016)

Joey Rodriguez (The KELT Team)
Vanderbilt Astronomy Group, Physics and Astronomy Department, Vanderbilt University, 6301 Stevenson Center, Nashville, TN 37235; rodriguez.jr.joey@gmail.com


(Abstract only) Young stellar objects (YSOs) are typically surrounded by protoplanetary circumstellar disks. One way to probe the size, mass, and composition of these disks is to observe a star being eclipsed by its own disk. So far only a few of these events have been discovered and analyzed in the literature. New wide-field time domain surveys are an ideal tool to search for rare eclipse events, depending on the coverage, cadence, and baseline of the survey. The Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) exoplanet survey covers a large portion of the sky, including a significant fraction of the galactic plane. Using time-series photometry from KELT we are looking for disk-eclipsing events, specifically in young stellar associations. To date, we have discovered three previously unknown large dimming events around the young stars RW Aurigae, V409 Tau, and TYC 2505-672-1. We attribute the dimming of RW Aurigae to its tidally disrupted disk, while for V409 Tau the dimming is interpreted to be caused by a feature, possibly a warp or perturbation, in its nearly edge-on circumstellar disk. TYC 2505-672-1 appears to be similar to epsilon Aurigae, with an M-giant being eclipsed every ~69 years by a white dwarf with an accretion disk surrounding it. I will describe our results and discuss how we are planning to search for these kinds of objects in future surveys such as LSST.