A survey for variable young stars with small telescopes: first results from HOYS-CAPS

D. Froebrich, J. Campbell-White, A. Scholz, J. Eislöffel, T. Zegmott, S. J. Billington, J. Donohoe, S. V. Makin, R. Hibbert, R. J. Newport, R. Pickard, N. Quinn, T. Rodda, G. Piehler, M. Shelley, S. Parkinson, K. Wiersema, I. Walton

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Variability in Young Stellar Objects (YSOs) is one of their primary characteristics. Long-term, multi-filter, high-cadence monitoring of large YSO samples is the key to understand the partly unusual light-curves that many of these objects show. Here we introduce and present the first results of the HOYS-CAPS citizen science project which aims to perform such monitoring for nearby (d <1 kpc) and young (age<10 Myr) clusters and star forming regions, visible from the northern hemisphere, with small telescopes. We have identified and characterised 466 variable (413 confirmed young) stars in 8 young,nearby clusters. All sources vary by at least 0.2 mag in V, have been observed at least 15 times in V, R and I in the same night over a period of about 2 yrs and have a Stetson index of larger than 1. This is one of the largest samples of variable YSOs observed over such a time-span and cadence in multiple filters. About two thirds of our sample are classical T-Tauri stars, while the rest are objects with depleted or transition disks. Objects characterised as bursters show by far the highest variability. Dippers and objects whose variability is dominated by occultations from normal interstellar dust or dust with larger grains(or opaque material) have smaller amplitudes. We have established a hierarchical clustering algorithm based on the light-curve properties which allows the identification of the YSOs with the most unusual behaviour, and to group sources with similar properties. We discuss in detail the light-curves of the unusual objects V2492 Cyg, V350 Cep and2MASS J21383981+5708470.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5091-5103
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date23 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Stars: formation
  • Pre-main-sequence
  • Stars: variables: general
  • T-Tauri
  • Herbig Ae/Be


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