Gaia21bty: an EXor light curve exhibiting a FUor spectrum

Michal Siwak*, Lynne A. Hillenbrand, Ágnes Kóspál, Péter Ábrahám, Teresa Giannini, Kishalay De, Attila Moór, Máté Szilágyi, Jan Janík, Chris Koen, Sunkyung Park, Zsófia Nagy, Fernando Cruz-Sáenz de Miera, Eleonora Fiorellino, Gábor Marton, Mária Kun, Philip W. Lucas, Andrej Udalski, Zsofia Marianna Szabo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gaia21bty, a pre-main-sequence star that previously had shown aperiodic dips in its light curve, underwent a considerable ΔG ≈ 2.9 mag brightening that occurred over a few months between 2020 October and 2021 February. The Gaia light curve shows that the star remained near maximum brightness for about 4–6 months, and then started slowly fading over the next 2 yr, with at least three superimposed ∼1 mag sudden rebrightening events. Whereas the amplitude and duration of the maximum is typical for EX Lupi-type stars, optical and near-infrared spectra obtained at the maximum are dominated by features which are typical for FU Ori-type stars (FUors). Modelling of the accretion disc at the maximum indicates that the disc bolometric luminosity is 43 L⊙ and the mass accretion rate is 2.5 × 10−5 M⊙ yr−1, which are typical values for FUors even considering the large uncertainty in the distance (⁠1.7+0.8−0.4 kpc). Further monitoring is necessary to understand the cause of the quick brightness decline, the rebrightening, and the other post-outburst light changes, as our multicolour photometric data suggest that they could be caused by a long and discontinuous obscuration event. We speculate that the outburst might have induced large-scale inhomogeneous dust condensations in the line of sight leading to such phenomena, whilst the FUor outburst continues behind the opaque screen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5548–5565
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date18 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • Accretion
  • Accretion discs
  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: pre-main-sequence
  • Stars: variables: T Tauri, Herbig Ae/Be


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