Sudden Extreme Obscuration of a Sun-like Main-sequence Star: Evolution of the Circumstellar Dust around ASASSN-21qj

Article


Marshall, Jonathan P., Ertel, Steve, Kemper, Francisca, Del Burgo, Carlos, Otten, Gilles P. P. L., Scicluna, Peter, Zeegers, Sascha T., Ribas, Álvaro and Morata, Oscar. 2023. "Sudden Extreme Obscuration of a Sun-like Main-sequence Star: Evolution of the Circumstellar Dust around ASASSN-21qj." The Astrophysical Journal: an international review of astronomy and astronomical physics. 954 (2). https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ace629
Article Title

Sudden Extreme Obscuration of a Sun-like Main-sequence Star: Evolution of the Circumstellar Dust around ASASSN-21qj

ERA Journal ID1057
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsMarshall, Jonathan P., Ertel, Steve, Kemper, Francisca, Del Burgo, Carlos, Otten, Gilles P. P. L., Scicluna, Peter, Zeegers, Sascha T., Ribas, Álvaro and Morata, Oscar
Journal TitleThe Astrophysical Journal: an international review of astronomy and astronomical physics
Journal Citation954 (2)
Article Number140
Number of Pages10
Year2023
PublisherIOP Publishing
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN0004-637X
1538-4357
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ace629
Web Address (URL)https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4357/ace629/meta
AbstractASASSN-21qj is a distant Sun-like star that recently began an episode of deep dimming events after no prior recorded variability. Here we examine archival and newly obtained optical and near-infrared data of this star. The deep aperiodic dimming and absence of previous infrared excess are reminiscent of KIC 8462852 (Boyajian’s Star). The observed occultations are consistent with a circumstellar cloud of submicron-sized dust grains composed of amorphous pyroxene, with a minimum mass of 1.50 ± 0.04 × 10?9 M ? derived from the deepest occultations, and a minimum grain size of 0.29 ? 0.18 + 0.01 ? m assuming a power-law size distribution. We further identify the first evidence of near-infrared excess in this system from NEOWISE 3.4 and 4.6 ?m observations. The excess emission implies a total circumstellar dust mass of around 10?6 M ?, comparable to the extreme, variable disks associated with terrestrial planet formation around young stars. The quasiperiodic recurrence of deep dips and the inferred dust temperature (ranging from 1800 to 700 K across the span of observations) independently point to an orbital distance of ?0.2 au for the dust, supporting the occulting material and excess emission being causally linked. The origin of this extended, opaque cloud is surmised to be the breakup of one or more exocometary bodies.
KeywordsSolar analogs; Circumstellar dust; Exocomets
ANZSRC Field of Research 20205101. Astronomical sciences
Byline AffiliationsAcademia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Taiwan
Centre for Astrophysics
University of Arizona, United States
Institute of Space Sciences, Spain
Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), Spain
Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), Spain
National Institute of Astrophysics Optics and Electronics, Mexico
European Southern Observatory (ESO), Chile
European Space Agency, France
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
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