AA Tau is a well studied young stellar object (YSO) that presents many of the photometric characteristics of a Classical T Tauri star (CTTS), including short-timescale stochastic variability attributed to spots and/or accretion as well as long-duration dimming events attributed to occultations by vertical features (e.g., warps) in its circumstellar disk. We present new photometric observations of AA Tau from the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope North (KELT-North) which reveal a deep, extended dimming event in 2011, which we show supports the interpretation by Bouvier et al. of an occultation by a high-density feature in the circumstellar disk located AU from the star. We also present KELT-North observations of V409 Tau, a relatively unstudied YSO also in Taurus-Auriga, showing short timescale erratic variability, along with two separate long and deep dimming events, one from 2009 January through late 2010 October, and the other from 2012 March until at least 2013 September. We interpret both dimming events to have lasted more than 600 days, each with a depth of ∼1.4 mag. From a spectral energy distribution analysis, we propose that V409 Tau is most likely surrounded by a circumstellar disk viewed nearly edge-on, and using Keplerian timescale arguments we interpret the deep dimmings of V409 Tau as occultations from one or more features within this disk ≳10 AU from the star. In both AA Tau and V409 Tau, the usual CTTS short-timescale variations associated with accretion processes close to the stars continue during the occultations, further supporting the distant occulting material interpretation. Like AA Tau, V409 Tau serves as a laboratory for studying the detailed structure of the protoplanetary environments of T Tauri disks, specifically disk structures that may be signposts of planet formation at many AU out in the disk. We also provide a table of all currently known disk-occulting young stars as a convenient reference for future work on such objects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science