Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 559A, 109-109 (2013/11-1)
A near-infrared variability campaign of TMR-1: New light on the nature of the candidate protoplanet TMR-1C.
RIAZ B., MARTIN E.L., PETR-GOTZENS M.G. and MONIN J.-L.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present a near-infrared (NIR) photometric variability study of the TMR-1 system, a Class I protobinary located in the Taurus molecular cloud. Our aim is to confirm NIR variability for the candidate protoplanet, TMR-1C, located at a separation of about 10'' (∼1000 AU) from the protobinary. We conducted a photometric monitoring campaign between October 2011 and January 2012 using the CFHT/WIRCam imager. We were able to obtain 44 epochs of observations in each of the H and Ks filters, resulting in high-quality photometry with uncertainties of less than one-tenth of a magnitude. The shortest time difference between two epochs is ∼14 min, and the longest is ∼4 months. Based on the final accuracy of our observations, we do not find any strong evidence of short-term NIR variability at amplitudes of ≥0.15-0.2mag for TMR-1C or TMR-1AB. Our present observations, however, have reconfirmed the large-amplitude long-term variations in the NIR emission for TMR-1C, which were observed between 1998 and 2002, and have also shown that no particular correlation exists between the brightness and the color changes. The object TMR-1C became brighter in the H band by ∼1.8mag between 1998 and 2002, and then fainter again by ∼0.7mag between 2002 and 2011. In contrast, TMR-1C became continually brighter in the Ks band in the period between 1998 and 2011. The (H-Ks) color for TMR-1C shows large variations, from a red value of 1.3±0.07 and 1.6±0.05mag in 1998 and 2000, to a much bluer color of -0.1±0.5mag in 2002, and then again a red color of 1.1±0.08mag in 2011. The difference in the variability trends observed in the H and Ks bands suggests the presence of more than one origin for the observed variations. The observed variability from 1998 to 2011 suggests that TMR-1C becomes fainter when it gets redder, as expected from variable extinction, while the brightening observed in the Ks band could be due to physical variations in the inner disk structure of TMR-1C. We have argued in favor of TMR-1C being a young stellar object (YSO), rather than a faint background star passing behind some foreground material. There may exist short-term NIR variations at an amplitude level lower than our detection limit (∼0.2mag), which would be consistent with the YSO hypothesis. If the observed long-term variability is due to foreground extinction, then we would expect simultaneous brightening/dimming in the H and Ks bands, which we do not find to be the case. Variable foreground extinction is also expected to occur over a large spatial scale; we monitored several other objects within 4'x4' of the TMR-1 system, and found only two objects which show long-term variations, indicating that this is not a large-scale effect. The NIR colors for TMR-1C obtained using the high-precision photometry from 1998, 2000, and 2011 observations are similar to the protostars in Taurus, suggesting that it could be a faint dusty Class I source. This object is thus a strong candidate YSO, but final confirmation as a protoplanet remains elusive and requires further investigation. Our study has also revealed two new variable sources in the vicinity of TMR-1AB that show long-term variations of ∼1-2mag in the NIR colors between 2002 and 2011. The proper motions measured for TMR-1AB and TMR-1C are -40,+58mas/yr and -22,+5mas/yr, respectively, with an uncertainty of ∼31mas/yr. A larger baseline of 20 years or more is required to confidently confirm the physical association of TMR-1AB and C.