A possible detection of occultation by a proto-planetary clump in GMCephei

W. P. Chen, S. C.L. Hu, R. Errmann, Ch Adam, S. Baar, A. Berndt, L. Bukowiecki, D. P. Dimitrov, T. Eisenbeiß, S. Fiedler, Ch Ginski, C. Gräfe, J. K. Guo, M. M. Hohle, H. Y. Hsiao, R. Janulis, M. Kitze, H. C. Lin, C. S. Lin, G. MacIejewskiC. Marka, L. Marschall, M. Moualla, M. Mugrauer, R. Neuhäuser, T. Pribulla, St Raetz, T. Röll, E. Schmidt, J. Schmidt, T. O.B. Schmidt, M. Seeliger, L. Trepl, C. Bricẽo, R. Chini, E. L.N. Jensen, E. H. Nikogossian, A. K. Pandey, J. Sperauskas, H. Takahashi, F. M. Walter, Z. Y. Wu, X. Zhou

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GMCephei (GMCep), in the young (∼4Myr) open cluster Trumpler 37, has been known to be an abrupt variable and to have a circumstellar disk with a very active accretion. Our monitoring observations in 2009-2011 revealed that the star showed sporadic flare events, each with a brightening of ≲ 0.5mag lasting fordays. These brightening events, associated with a color change toward blue, should originate from increased accretion activity. Moreover, the star also underwent a brightness drop of 1mag lasting for about a month, during which time the star became bluer when fainter. Such brightness drops seem to have a recurrence timescale of a year, as evidenced in our data and the photometric behavior of GMCep over a century. Between consecutive drops, the star brightened gradually by about 1mag and became blue at peak luminosity. We propose that the drop is caused by the obscuration of the central star by an orbiting dust concentration. The UX Orionis type of activity in GMCep therefore exemplifies the disk inhomogeneity process in transition between the grain coagulation and the planetesimal formation in a young circumstellar disk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • occultations
  • planets and satellites: formation
  • protoplanetary disks
  • stars: individual (GM Cephei)
  • stars: pre-main sequence
  • stars: variables: T Tauri, Herbig Ae/Be


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