NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2017B-0280

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Program Information for 2017B-0280


PI: Gail Schaefer, Georgia State U., schaefer@chara-array.org
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, Atlanta, GA, 30303 USA

CoI: Tracy L Beck, STScI
CoI: Lisa Prato, Lowell Observatory
CoI: Michal Simon, SUNY

Title: Variability and Orbital Motion in the T Tauri Triple System

Abstract: We propose to monitor the photometric variability and orbital motion in the young T Tauri triple system. Mapping the visual orbit of the close pair, T Tau Sa,Sb, and measuring their astrometric center-of-mass motion relative to the bright optical component, T Tau N, will provide high precision dynamical masses of T Tau Sa and Sb. Preliminary results suggest that T Tau Sa, the optically obscured infrared companion, might be the most massive star in the system. The photometric variability observed in T Tau Sa is likely caused by a combination of variable accretion and extinction from the small, edge-on disk that surrounds T Tau Sa. It has been speculated that an enhanced period of variability following the previous periastron passage was induced by a tidal perturbation of the disk causing variable accretion. As the system approaches the next periastron passage, we again see a rise in the brightness of T Tau Sa. Our goal is to monitor the relative brightness of the components in the triple system in the K and L bands to understand better the source of the variability. In addition, the astrometric measurements will provide high precision dynamical masses that will be used to help validate and distinguish among theoretical models of pre-main sequence stellar evolution.

Program Type: Standard/Galactic

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2017B):  GEM-NQ/NIRI -- 5.9hrs band 1 (GN-2017B-Q-29)


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2017B-0280

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