Gaia 19ajj: A Young Star Brightening Due to Enhanced Accretion and Reduced Extinction

December 2019 • 2019AJ....158..240H

Authors • Hillenbrand, Lynne A. • Reipurth, Bo • Connelley, Michael • Cutri, Roc M. • Isaacson, Howard

Abstract • We report on the source Gaia 19ajj, identifying it as a young star associated with a little-studied star-forming region seen along a complex line of sight through the Gum Nebula. The optical lightcurve recently recorded by Gaia exhibits a slow and unsteady 5.5 mag rise over about 3 yr, while the mid-infrared lightcurve from NEOWISE over the same time period shows a 1.2 mag rise having similar structure. Available color information is inconsistent with pure extinction reduction as the cause for the photometric brightening. Optical spectroscopic characteristics in the current bright phase include: little in the way of absorption except for the hallmark Li I 6707 Å signature of youth plus weak, e.g., Ca I and notably Ba II; strong wind/outflow in Ca II, Mg I b, Na I D, Hα, K I, and O I; jet signatures in [O I], [S II], [Ca II], [Fe II], and [Ni II]; and narrow rest-velocity emission in neutral species such as Fe I, Ni I, and Mg I. The infrared spectrum is also characterized by outflow and emission, including: a hot He I wind, jet lines such as [Fe II] and H2; and weak narrow rest-velocity atomic line emission. The {}12{CO} bandheads are weakly in emission, but there is also broad H2O absorption. Gaia 19ajj exhibited a previous bright state in the 2010-2012 time frame. The body of photometric and spectroscopic evidence suggests that the source bears resemblance to V2492 Cyg (PTF 10nvg) and PV Cep, both of which similarly experience bright phases that recur on long timescales, with large-amplitude photometric variations and emission-dominated spectra. We interpret the behavior of Gaia 19ajj as caused by cycles of enhanced disk accretion accompanied by reduced extinction.


IPAC Authors

Roc Cutri

IPAC Deputy Director