Young Stellar Object Variability

YSOVAR Research Project Operational


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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