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What is causing these Little Dippers?

11 Dec 2018, 15:51 UTC
What is causing these Little Dippers?
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Title: The Little Dippers: Transits of Star-grazing Exocomets?Authors: M. Ansdell, E. Gaidos, T. L. Jacobs, A. Mann, C. F. Manara, G. M. Kennedy, A. Vanderburg, M. Kenworthy, T. Hirano, D. M. LaCourse, C. Hedges, A. FrascaFirst Author’s Institution: Center for Integrative Planetary Science, University of California at Berkeley, USAStatus: Accepted to MNRAS, [closed access]The now retired Kepler space telescope has done well, discovering many of the nearly 4000 exoplanets. But Kepler can be used to study anything which causes the amount of starlight we see to dip (or increase). The authors of today’s paper were looking for ‘dipper’ stars in the K2 lightcurves and instead found their smaller cousins.
Big Dipper, Little DipperThe dipper stars they were looking for are young stars (less than 10 Myr) with spectral types K/M, which have deep (>~10%) dips in light lasting ∼0.5–2 days, reoccurring semi-regularly or episodically (meaning they exhibit several events over a short period of time then none for a longer period of time). These dips are believed to be caused by structures in protoplanetary disks, allowing us to probe disk structure and dynamics during planet formation.Instead they found two objects with lightcurves like dipper stars but with dips 10-100 times ...

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