Lynne A. Hillenbrand

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, United States

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Publications (347)1105.46 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of three low-mass double-lined eclipsing binaries in the pre-main sequence Upper Scorpius association, revealed by $K2$ photometric monitoring of the region over $\sim$ 78 days. The orbital periods of all three systems are $<$5 days. We use the $K2$ photometry plus multiple Keck/HIRES radial velocities and spectroscopic flux ratios to determine fundamental stellar parameters for both the primary and secondary components of each system, along with the orbital parameters. We present tentative evidence that EPIC 203868608 is a hierarchical triple system comprised of an eclipsing pair of $\sim$25 $M_\mathrm{Jup}$ brown dwarfs with a wide M-type companion. If confirmed, it would constitute only the second double-lined eclipsing brown dwarf binary system discovered to date. The double-lined system EPIC 203710387 is composed of nearly identical M4.5-M5 stars with fundamentally determined masses and radii measured to better than 3% precision ($M_1=0.1169\pm0.0031 M_\odot$, $M_2=0.1065\pm0.0027 M_\odot$ and $R_1=0.4338\pm0.0071 R_\odot$, $R_2=0.4377\pm0.0080 R_\odot$) from combination of the light curve and radial velocity time series. These stars have the lowest masses of any stellar mass double-lined eclipsing binary to date. Finally, EPIC 203476597 is a compact single-lined system with a G8-KO primary and a likely mid-K secondary whose line are revealed in spectral ratios. Continued measurement of radial velocities and spectroscopic flux ratios will better constrain fundamental parameters and should elevate the objects to benchmark status. We also present revised parameters for the double-lined eclipsing binary UScoCTIO 5 ($M_1=0.3336\pm0.0022 M_\odot$, $M_2=0.3200\pm0.0022 M_\odot$ and $R_1=0.862\pm0.012$, $R_2=0.852\pm0.013 R_\odot$). We discuss the implications of our results on these $\sim$0.1-1.5 $M_\odot$ stars for pre-main-sequence evolutionary models.
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    ABSTRACT: The star HII 2407 is a member of the relatively young Pleiades star cluster and was previously discovered to be a single-lined spectroscopic binary. It is newly identified here within $Kepler$/$K2$ photometric time series data as an eclipsing binary system. Mutual fitting of the radial velocity and photometric data leads to an orbital solution and constraints on fundamental stellar parameters. While the primary has arrived on the main sequence, the secondary is still pre-main-sequence and we compare our results for the $M/M_\odot$ and $R/R_\odot$ values with stellar evolutionary models. We also demonstrate that the system is likely to be tidally synchronized. Follow-up infrared spectroscopy is likely to reveal the lines of the secondary, allowing for dynamically measured masses and elevating the system to benchmark eclipsing binary status.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2015; 814(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/814/1/62 · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a detailed analysis of narrow of NaI and KI absorption resonance lines toward nearly 40 T Tauri stars in Taurus with the goal of clarifying their origin. The NaI 5889.95 angstrom line is detected toward all but one source, while the weaker KI 7698.96 angstrom line in about two thirds of the sample. The similarity in their peak centroids and the significant positive correlation between their equivalent widths demonstrate that these transitions trace the same atomic gas. The absorption lines are present towards both disk and diskless young stellar objects, which excludes cold gas within the circumstellar disk as the absorbing material. A comparison of NaI and CO detections and peak centroids demonstrates that the atomic and molecular gas are not co-located, the atomic gas is more extended than the molecular gas. The width of the atomic lines corroborates this finding and points to atomic gas about an order of magnitude warmer than the molecular gas. The distribution of NaI radial velocities shows a clear spatial gradient along the length of the Taurus molecular cloud filaments. This suggests that absorption is associated with the Taurus molecular cloud. Assuming the gradient is due to cloud rotation, the rotation of the atomic gas is consistent with differential galactic rotation while the rotation of the molecular gas, although with the same rotation axis, is retrograde. Our analysis shows that narrow NaI and KI absorption resonance lines are useful tracers of the atomic envelope of molecular clouds. In line with recent findings from giant molecular clouds, our results demonstrate that the velocity fields of the atomic and molecular gas are misaligned. The angular momentum of a molecular cloud is not simply inherited from the rotating Galactic disk from which it formed but may be redistributed by cloud-cloud interactions.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2015; 814(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/814/1/14 · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our goal is to relate the photometric and spectroscopic variability of classical T Tauri stars, of the star-forming cluster NGC 2264, to the physical processes acting in the stellar and circumstellar environment, within a few stellar radii from the star. NGC 2264 was the target of a multiwavelength observational campaign with CoRoT, MOST, Spitzer, and Chandra satellites and observations from the ground. We classified the CoRoT light curves of accreting systems according to their morphology and compared our classification to several accretion diagnostics and disk parameters. The morphology of the CoRoT light curve reflects the evolution of the accretion process and of the inner disk region. Accretion burst stars present high mass-accretion rates and optically thick inner disks. AA Tau-like systems, whose light curves are dominated by circumstellar dust obscuration, show intermediate mass-accretion rates and are located in the transition of thick to anemic disks. Classical T Tauri stars with spot-like light curves correspond mostly to systems with a low mass-accretion rate and low mid-IR excess. About 30% of the classical T Tauri stars observed in the 2008 and 2011 CoRoT runs changed their light-curve morphology. Transitions from AA Tau-like and spot-like to aperiodic light curves and vice versa were common. The analysis of the $H\alpha$ emission line variability of 58 accreting stars showed that 8 presented a periodicity that in a few cases was coincident with the photometric period. The blue and red wings of the $H\alpha$ line profiles often do not correlate with each other, indicating that they are strongly influenced by different physical processes. Accreting stars have a dynamic stellar and circumstellar environment that can be explained by magnetospheric accretion and outflow models, including variations from stable to unstable accretion regimes on timescales of a few years
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2015; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201526599 · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The T Tauri star PTFO 8-8695 exhibits periodic fading events that have been interpreted as the transits of a giant planet on a precessing orbit. Here we present three tests of the planet hypothesis. First, we sought evidence for the secular changes in light-curve morphology that are predicted to be a consequence of orbital precession. We observed 28 fading events spread over several years, and did not see the expected changes. Instead we found that the fading events are not strictly periodic. Second, we attempted to detect the planet's radiation, based on infrared observations spanning the predicted times of occultations. We ruled out a signal of the expected amplitude. Third, we attempted to detect the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect by performing high-resolution spectroscopy throughout a fading event. No effect was seen at the expected level, ruling out most (but not all) possible orientations for the hypothetical planetary orbit. Our spectroscopy also revealed strong, time-variable, high-velocity H{\alpha} and Ca H & K emission features. All these observations cast doubt on the planetary hypothesis, and suggest instead that the fading events represent starspots, eclipses by circumstellar dust, or occultations of an accretion hotspot.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2015; 812(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/812/1/48 · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    Brendan P. Bowler · Lynne A. Hillenbrand ·
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    ABSTRACT: We present Keck/NIRC2 and OSIRIS near-infrared imaging and spectroscopy of 2M0441+2301 AabBab, a young (1--3 Myr) hierarchical quadruple system comprising a low-mass star, two brown dwarfs, and a planetary-mass companion in Taurus. All four components show spectroscopic signs of low surface gravity, and both 2M0441+2301 Aa and Ab possess Pa$\beta$ emission indicating they each harbor accretion subdisks. Astrometry spanning 2008--2014 reveals orbital motion in both the Aab (0.23" separation) and Bab (0.095" separation) pairs, although the implied orbital periods of $>$300 years means dynamical masses will not be possible in the near future. The faintest component (2M0441+2301 Bb) has an angular $H$-band shape, strong molecular absorption (VO, CO, H$_2$O, and FeH), and shallow alkali lines, confirming its young age, late spectral type (L1 $\pm$ 1), and low temperature ($\approx$1800~K). With individual masses of 200$^{+100}_{-50}$ Mjup, 35 $\pm$ 5 Mjup, 19 $\pm$ 3 Mjup, and 9.8 $\pm$ 1.8 Mjup, 2M0441+2301 AabBab is the lowest-mass quadruple system known. Its hierarchical orbital architecture and mass ratios imply that it formed from the collapse and fragmentation of a molecular cloud core, demonstrating that planetary-mass companions can originate from a stellar-like pathway analogous to higher-mass quadruple star systems. More generally, cloud fragmentation may be an important formation pathway for the massive exoplanets that are now regularly being imaged on wide orbits.
    09/2015; 811(2). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/811/2/L30
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    ABSTRACT: We combine new high resolution imaging and spectroscopy from Keck/NIRC2, Discovery Channel Telescope/DSSI, and Keck/HIRES with published astrometry and radial velocities to measure individual masses and orbital elements of the GJ 3305 AB system, a young (~20 Myr) M+M binary (unresolved spectral type M0) member of the beta Pictoris moving group comoving with the imaged exoplanet host 51 Eri. We measure a total system mass of 1.10 \pm 0.04 M_sun, a period of 29.16 \pm 0.65$ yr, a semimajor axis of 9.80 \pm 0.15 AU, and an eccentricity of 0.19 \pm 0.02. The primary component has a dynamical mass of 0.65 \pm 0.05 M_sun and the secondary has a mass of 0.44 \pm 0.05 M_sun. The recently updated BHAC15 models are consistent with the masses of both stars to within 1.5 sigma. Given the observed masses the models predict an age of the GJ 3305 AB system of 28 +15/-6 Myr. Based on the the observed system architecture and our dynamical mass measurement, it is unlikely that the orbit of 51 Eri b has been significantly altered by the Kozai-Lidov mechanism.
    08/2015; 813(1). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/813/1/L11
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    ABSTRACT: As part of the Young Stellar Object VARiability (YSOVAR) program, we monitored NGC 1333 for ~35 days at 3.6 and 4.5 um using the Spitzer Space Telescope. We report here on the mid-infrared variability of the point sources in the ~10x~20arcmin area centered on 03:29:06, +31:19:30 (J2000). Out of 701 light curves in either channel, we find 78 variables over the YSOVAR campaign. About half of the members are variable. The variable fraction for the most embedded SEDs (Class I, flat) is higher than that for less embedded SEDs (Class II), which is in turn higher than the star-like SEDs (Class III). A few objects have amplitudes (10-90th percentile brightness) in [3.6] or [4.5]>0.2 mag; a more typical amplitude is 0.1-0.15 mag. The largest color change is >0.2 mag. There are 24 periodic objects, with 40% of them being flat SED class. This may mean that the periodic signal is primarily from the disk, not the photosphere, in those cases. We find 9 variables likely to be 'dippers', where texture in the disk occults the central star, and 11 likely to be 'bursters', where accretion instabilities create brightness bursts. There are 39 objects that have significant trends in [3.6]-[4.5] color over the campaign, about evenly divided between redder-when-fainter (consistent with extinction variations) and bluer-when-fainter. About a third of the 17 Class 0 and/or jet-driving sources from the literature are variable over the YSOVAR campaign, and a larger fraction (~half) are variable between the YSOVAR campaign and the cryogenic-era Spitzer observations (6-7 years), perhaps because it takes time for the envelope to respond to changes in the central source. The NGC 1333 brown dwarfs do not stand out from the stellar light curves in any way except there is a much larger fraction of periodic objects (~60% of variable brown dwarfs are periodic, compared to ~30% of the variables overall).
    The Astronomical Journal 08/2015; 150(6). DOI:10.1088/0004-6256/150/6/175 · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HD 177830 is an evolved K0IV star with two known exoplanets. In addition to the planetary companions it has a late-type stellar companion discovered with adaptive optics imagery. We observed the binary star system with the PHARO near-IR camera and the Project 1640 coronagraph. Using the Project 1640 coronagraph and integral field spectrograph we extracted a spectrum of the stellar companion. This allowed us to determine that the spectral type of the stellar companion is a M4$\pm$1V. We used both instruments to measure the astrometry of the binary system. Combining these data with published data, we determined that the binary star has a likely period of approximately 800 years with a semi-major axis of 100-200 AU. This implies that the stellar companion has had little or no impact on the dynamics of the exoplanets. The astrometry of the system should continue to be monitored, but due to the slow nature of the system, observations can be made once every 5-10 years.
    The Astronomical Journal 07/2015; 150(4). DOI:10.1088/0004-6256/150/4/103 · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a time-variability study of young stellar objects in the cluster IRAS 20050+2720, performed at 3.6 and 4.5 micron with the Spitzer Space Telescope; this study is part of the Young Stellar Object VARiability project (YSOVAR). We have collected light curves for 181 cluster members over 40 days. We find a high variability fraction among embedded cluster members of ca. 70%, whereas young stars without a detectable disk display variability less often (in ca. 50% of the cases) and with lower amplitudes. We detect periodic variability for 33 sources with periods primarily in the range of 2-6 days. Practically all embedded periodic sources display additional variability on top of their periodicity. Furthermore, we analyze the slopes of the tracks that our sources span in the color-magnitude diagram (CMD). We find that sources with long variability time scales tend to display CMD slopes that are at least partially influenced by accretion processes, while sources with short variability time scales tend to display extinction-dominated slopes. We find a tentative trend of X-ray detected cluster members to vary on longer time scales than the X-ray undetected members.
    The Astronomical Journal 07/2015; 150(4). DOI:10.1088/0004-6256/150/4/118 · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present an IR-monitoring survey with the $Spitzer$ Space Telescope of the star forming region GGD 12-15. Over 1000 objects were monitored including about 350 objects within the central 5 arcminutes which is found to be especially dense in cluster members. The monitoring took place over 38 days and is part of the Young Stellar Object VARiability (YSOVAR) project. The region was also the subject of a contemporaneous 67ks $Chandra$ observation. The field includes 119 previously identified pre-main sequence star candidates. X-rays are detected from 164 objects, 90 of which are identified with cluster members. Overall, we find that about half the objects in the central 5 arcminutes are young stellar objects based on a combination of their spectral energy distribution, IR variability and X-ray emission. Most of the stars with IR excess relative to a photosphere show large amplitude (>0.1 mag) mid-IR variability. There are 39 periodic sources, all but one of these is found to be a cluster member. Almost half of the periodic sources do not show IR excesses. Overall, more than 85% of the Class I, flat spectrum, and Class II sources are found to vary. The amplitude of the variability is larger in more embedded young stellar objects. Most of the Class~I/II objects exhibit redder colors in a fainter state, compatible with time-variable extinction. A few become bluer when fainter, which can be explained with significant changes in the structure of the inner disk. A search for changes in the IR due to X-ray events is carried out, but the low number of flares prevented an analysis of the direct impact of X-ray flares on the IR lightcurves. However, we find that X-ray detected Class II sources have longer timescales for change in the mid-IR than a similar set of non-X-ray detected Class IIs.
    The Astronomical Journal 07/2015; 150(5). DOI:10.1088/0004-6256/150/5/145 · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We explore UV and optical variability signatures for several hundred members of NGC 2264 (3 Myr). We performed simultaneous u- and r-band monitoring over two full weeks with CFHT/MegaCam. About 750 young stars are probed; 40% of them are accreting. Statistically distinct variability properties are observed for accreting and non-accreting cluster members. The accretors exhibit a significantly higher level of variability than the non-accretors, especially in the UV. The amount of u-band variability correlates statistically with UV excess in disk-bearing objects, which suggests that accretion and star-disk interaction are the main sources of variability. Cool magnetic spots, several hundred degrees colder than the photosphere and covering from 5 to 30% of the stellar surface, appear to be the leading factor of variability for the non-accreting stars. In contrast, accretion spots, a few thousand degrees hotter than the photosphere and covering a few percent of the stellar surface, best reproduce the variability of accreting objects. The color behavior is also found to be different between accreting and non-accreting stars. Typical variability amplitudes for accreting members rapidly increase from r to u, which indicates a much stronger contrast at short wavelengths; a lower color dependence in the amplitudes is instead measured for diskless stars. We find that u-band variability on hour timescales is typically about 10% of the peak-to-peak variability on day timescales, while longer term (years) variability is consistent with amplitudes measured over weeks. We conclude that for both accreting and non-accreting stars, the mid-term rotational modulation by spots is the leading timescale for a variability of up to several years. In turn, this suggests that the accretion process is essentially stable over years, although it exhibits low-level shorter term variations in single accretion events.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 06/2015; 581. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201526164 · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    Xavier Koenig · Lynne A. Hillenbrand · Deborah L. Padgett · Daniel DeFelippis ·
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    ABSTRACT: We have conducted a sensitive search down to the hydrogen burning limit for unextincted stars over $\sim$200 square degrees around Lambda Orionis and 20 square degrees around Sigma Orionis using the methodology of Koenig & Leisawitz (2014). From WISE and 2MASS data we identify 544 and 418 candidate YSOs in the vicinity of Lambda and Sigma respectively. Based on our followup spectroscopy for some candidates and the existing literature for others, we found that $\sim$80% of the K14-selected candidates are probable or likely members of the Orion star forming region. The yield from the photometric selection criteria shows that WISE sources with $K_S -w3 > 1.5$ mag and $K_S $ between 10--12 mag are most likely to show spectroscopic signs of youth, while WISE sources with $K_S -w3 > 4$ mag and $K_S > 12$ were often AGNs when followed up spectroscopically. The population of candidate YSOs traces known areas of active star formation, with a few new `hot spots' of activity near Lynds 1588 and 1589 and a more dispersed population of YSOs in the northern half of the HII region bubble around $\sigma$ and $\epsilon$ Ori. A minimal spanning tree analysis of the two regions to identify stellar groupings finds that roughly two-thirds of the YSO candidates in each region belong to groups of 5 or more members. The population of stars selected by WISE outside the MST groupings also contains spectroscopically verified YSOs, with a local stellar density as low as 0.5 stars per square degree.
    The Astronomical Journal 06/2015; 150(4). DOI:10.1088/0004-6256/150/4/100 · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    Lynne A. Hillenbrand · Krzysztof P. Findeisen ·
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    ABSTRACT: An enigmatic and rare type of young stellar object is the FU Orionis class. The members are interpreted as "outbursting," that is, currently in a state of enhanced accretion by several orders of magnitude relative to the more modest disk-to-star accretion rates measured in typical T Tauri stars. They are key to our understanding of the history of stellar mass assembly and pre-main sequence evolution, as well as critical to consider in the chemical and physical evolution of the circumstellar environment -- where planets form. A common supposition is that *all* T Tauri stars undergo repeated such outbursts, more frequently in their earlier evolutionary stages when the disks are more massive, so as to build up the requisite amount of stellar mass on the required time scale. However, the actual data supporting this traditional picture of episodically enhanced disk accretion are limited, and the observational properties of the known sample of FU Ori objects quite diverse. To improve our understanding of these rare objects, we outline the logic for meaningfully constraining the rate of FU Ori outbursts and present numbers to guide parameter choices in the analysis of time domain surveys.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2015; 808(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/808/1/68 · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    Gregory J. Herczeg · Lynne A. Hillenbrand ·
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    ABSTRACT: Absolute ages of young stars are important for many issues in pre-main sequence stellar and circumstellar evolution but are long recognized as difficult to derive and calibrate. In this paper, we use literature spectral types and photometry to construct empirical isochrones in HR diagrams for low-mass stars and brown dwarfs in the eta Cha, epsilon Cha, and TW Hya Associations and the beta Pic and Tuc-Hor Moving Groups. A successful theory of pre-main sequence evolution should match the shapes of the stellar loci for these groups of young stars. However, when comparing the combined empirical isochrones to isochrones predicted from evolutionary models, discrepancies lead to a spectral type (mass) dependence in stellar age estimates. Improved prescriptions for convection and boundary conditions in the latest models of pre-main sequence models lead to a significantly improved correspondence between empirical and model isochrones, with small offsets at low temperatures that may be explained by observational uncertainties or by model limitations. Independent of model predictions, linear fits to combined stellar loci of these regions provide a simple empirical method to order clusters by luminosity with a reduced dependence on spectral type. Age estimates calculated from various sets of modern models that reproduce Li depletion boundary ages of the beta Pic Moving Group also imply a ~4 Myr age for the low mass members of the Upper Sco OB Association, which is younger than the 11 Myr age that has been recently estimated for intermediate mass members.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2015; 808(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/808/1/23 · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    S. E. Dahm · L. A. Hillenbrand ·
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    ABSTRACT: NGC 7129 is a bright reflection nebula located in the molecular cloud complex near l=105.4, b=+9.9, about 1.15 kpc distant. Embedded within the reflection nebula is a young cluster dominated by a compact grouping of four early-type stars: BD+65 1638 (B3V), BD+65 1637 (B3e), SVS 13 (B5e), and LkH-alpha 234 (B8e). About 80 H-alpha emission sources brighter than V~23 are identified in the region, many of which are presumably T Tauri star members of the cluster. We also present deep (V~23), optical (VRI) photometry of a field centered on the reflection nebula and spectral types for more than 130 sources determined from low dispersion, optical spectroscopy. The narrow pre-main sequence evident in the color-magnitude diagram suggests that star formation was rapid and coeval. A median age of about 1.8 Myr is inferred for the H-alpha and literature-identified X-ray emission sources having established spectral types, using pre-main sequence evolutionary models. Our interpretation of the structure of the molecular cloud and the distribution of young stellar objects is that BD+65 1638 is primarily responsible for evacuating the blister-like cavity within the molecular cloud. LkH-alpha 234 and several embedded sources evident in near infrared adaptive optics imaging have formed recently within the ridge of compressed molecular gas. The compact cluster of low-mass stars formed concurrently with the early-type members, concentrated within a central radius of ~0.7 pc. Star formation is simultaneously occurring in a semi-circular arc some ~3 pc in radius that outlines remaining dense regions of molecular gas. High dispersion, optical spectra are presented for BD+65 1638, BD+65 1637, SVS 13, LkH-alpha 234, and V350 Cep. These spectra are discussed in the context of the circumstellar environments inferred for these stars.
    The Astronomical Journal 03/2015; 149(6). DOI:10.1088/0004-6256/149/6/200 · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The classical T Tauri star AA Tau presented photometric variability attributed to an inner disk warp, caused by the interaction between the inner disk and an inclined magnetosphere. Previous studies of NGC 2264 have shown that similar photometric behavior is common among CTTS. The goal of this work is to investigate the main causes of the observed photometric variability of CTTS in NGC 2264 that present AA Tau-like light curves, and verify if an inner disk warp could be responsible for their variability. We investigate veiling variability in their spectra and u-r color variations and estimate parameters of the inner disk warp using an occultation model proposed for AA Tau. We compare infrared and optical light curves to analyze the dust responsible for the occultations. AA Tau-like variability is transient on a timescale of a few years. We ascribe it to stable accretion regimes and aperiodic variability to unstable accretion regimes and show that a transition, and even coexistence, between the two is common. We find evidence of hot spots associated with occultations, indicating that the occulting structures could be located at the base of accretion columns. We find average values of warp maximum height of 0.23 times its radial location, consistent with AA Tau, with variations of on average 11% between rotation cycles. We show that extinction laws in the inner disk indicate the presence of grains larger than interstellar grains. The inner disk warp scenario is consistent with observations for all but one periodic star in our sample. AA Tau-like systems comprise 14% of CTTS observed in NGC 2264, though this increases to 35% among systems of mass 0.7M_sun<M<2.0M_sun. Assuming random inclinations, we estimate that nearly all systems in this mass range likely possess an inner disk warp, possibly because of a change in magnetic field configurations among stars of lower mass.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 02/2015; 577. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201425475 · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We identify nine young stellar objects (YSOs) in the NGC 2264 star-forming region with optical {\em CoRoT} light curves exhibiting short-duration, shallow, periodic flux dips. All of these stars have infrared (IR) excesses that are consistent with their having inner disk walls near the Keplerian co-rotation radius. The repeating photometric dips have FWHM generally less than one day, depths almost always less than 15%, and periods (3<P<11 days) consistent with dust near the Keplerian co-rotation period. The flux dips vary considerably in their depth from epoch to epoch, but usually persist for several weeks and, in two cases, were present in data collected on successive years. For several of these stars, we also measure the photospheric rotation period and find that the rotation and dip periods are the same, as predicted by standard "disk-locking" models. We attribute these flux dips to clumps of material in or near the inner disk wall, passing through our line of sight to the stellar photosphere. In some cases, these dips are also present in simultaneous {\em Spitzer} IRAC light curves at 3.6 and 4.5 microns. We characterize the properties of these dips, and compare the stars with light curves exhibiting this behavior to other classes of YSO in NGC 2264. A number of physical mechanisms could locally increase the dust scale height near the inner disk wall, and we discuss several of those mechanisms; the most plausible mechanisms are either a disk warp due to interaction with the stellar magnetic field or dust entrained in funnel-flow accretion columns arising near the inner disk wall.
    The Astronomical Journal 01/2015; 149(4). DOI:10.1088/0004-6256/149/4/130 · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    Trevor J. David · Lynne A. Hillenbrand ·
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    ABSTRACT: Age determination is undertaken for nearby early-type (BAF) stars, which constitute attractive targets for high-contrast debris disk and planet imaging surveys. Our analysis sequence consists of: acquisition of uvby{\beta} photometry from catalogs, correction for the effects of extinction, interpolation of the photometry onto model atmosphere grids from which atmospheric parameters are determined, and finally, comparison to the theoretical isochrones from pre-main sequence through post-main sequence stellar evolution models, accounting for the effects of stellar rotation. We calibrate and validate our methods at the atmospheric parameter stage by comparing our results to fundamentally determined Teff and log g values. We validate and test our methods at the evolutionary model stage by comparing our results on ages to the accepted ages of several benchmark open clusters (IC 2602, {\alpha} Persei, Pleiades, Hyades). Finally, we apply our methods to estimate stellar ages for 3493 field stars, including several with directly imaged exoplanet candidates.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2015; 804(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/804/2/146 · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    Krzysztof Findeisen · Ann Marie Cody · Lynne Hillenbrand ·
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    ABSTRACT: Aperiodic variability is a characteristic feature of young stars, massive stars, and active galactic nuclei. With the recent proliferation of time domain surveys, it is increasingly essential to develop methods to quantify and analyze aperiodic variability. We develop three timescale metrics that have been little used in astronomy -- Δm-Δt plots, peak-finding, and Gaussian process regression -- and present simulations comparing their effectiveness across a range of aperiodic light curve shapes, characteristic timescales, observing cadences, and signal to noise ratios. We find that Gaussian process regression is easily confused by noise and by irregular sampling, even when the model being fit reflects the process underlying the light curve, but that Δm-Δt plots and peak-finding can coarsely characterize timescales across a broad region of parameter space. We make public the software we used for our simulations, both in the spirit of open research and to allow others to carry out analogous simulations for their own observing programs.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2015; 798(2):89. DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/798/2/89 · 5.99 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

10k Citations
1,105.46 Total Impact Points


  • 2000-2014
    • California Institute of Technology
      • • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
      • • Department of Astronomy
      • • Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy
      Pasadena, California, United States
    • Centro de Investigaciones de Astronomia (CIDA)
      Mérida, Estado Mérida, Venezuela
  • 2013
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • CUNY Graduate Center
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2012
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • Department of Physics
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • University of Exeter
      Exeter, England, United Kingdom
  • 2010-2012
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
    • University of Toronto
      • Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
      • Department Physics and Astronomy
      New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States
  • 1995-2012
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Astronomy
      Berkeley, California, United States
  • 2011
    • Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network
      Goleta, California, United States
    • California State University, Los Angeles
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 1999
    • Wellesley College
      Уэлсли, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1993
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst
      • Department of Astronomy
      Amherst Center, Massachusetts, United States