Young Stellar Object Variability

YSOVAR Research Project Operational

Overview:

The Young Stellar Object Variability project (YSOVAR) is an Exploration Science program being conducted by the Spitzer Space Telescope during its warm mission with the InfraRed Array Camera (IRAC).

Spitzer/IRAC in the warm mission is the only facility now existing or planned capable of carrying out an extensive, accurate time series photometric monitoring survey of star-forming regions in the thermal infrared. The demonstrated sensitivity and stability of IRAC allows measurement of the relative fluxes of YSO's down to the substellar mass limit to 1-2% accuracy in star-forming regions out to >500 pc.

YSOVAR provides a time series monitoring exploration science survey of the Orion Nebula Cluster and 11 very young, populous embedded star-forming cores which will provide >= 80 epochs of data for > 1500 YSO's. These are complemented by contemporaneous optical and near-IR monitoring data in order to allow comparison of the phase, amplitude and light-curve shape as a function of wavelength. These data permit several science studies:

  1. provide otherwise unobtainable constraints on the structure of the inner disks in Class I and II YSOs - and hence, perhaps, provide clues to the formation and migration of planets at young ages
  2. measure the short and long-term stability of hot spots on the surfaces of YSO's of all evolutionary stages
  3. determine rotational periods for the largest sample to date of Class I YSO's and hence obtain the best measure of the initial angular momentum distribution of young stars

YSOVAR was selected as a Spitzer Exploration Science program in cycle 6.

IPAC's role:

The YSOVAR principal investigator is IPAC scientist John Stauffer. The YSOVAR team includes many past and present IPAC scientists, including Rachel Akeson, David Ardila, Sean Carey, David Ciardi, Maria Morales-Calderon, Peter Plavchan and Luisa Rebull.

The YSOVAR website is hosted at IPAC.

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