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Planet Hunters IX. KIC 8462852 - Where's the flux?

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Boyajian, TS 
LaCourse, DM 
Rappaport, SA 
Fabrycky, D 
Fischer, DA 


Over the duration of the Kepler mission, KIC 8462852 was observed to undergo irregularly shaped, aperiodic dips in flux of up to ~20 per cent. The dipping activity can last for between 5 and 80 d.We characterize the object with high-resolution spectroscopy, spectral energy distribution fitting, radial velocity measurements, high-resolution imaging, and Fourier analyses of the Kepler light curve. We determine that KIC 8462852 is a typical main-sequence F3 V star that exhibits no significant IR excess, and has no very close interacting companions. In this paper, we describe various scenarios to explain the dipping events observed in the Kepler light curve.We confirm that the dipping signals in the data are not caused by any instrumental or data processing artefact, and thus are astrophysical in origin. We construct scenario-independent constraints on the size and location of a body in the system that are needed to reproduce the observations. We deliberate over several assorted stellar and circumstellar astrophysical scenarios, most of which have problems explaining the data in hand. By considering the observational constraints on dust clumps in orbit around a normal main-sequence star, we conclude that the scenario most consistent with the data in hand is the passage of a family of exocomet or planetesimal fragments, all of which are associated with a single previous break-up event, possibly caused by tidal disruption or thermal processing. The minimum total mass associated with these fragments likely exceeds 10-6 M⊕, corresponding to an original rocky body of >100 km in diameter. We discuss the necessity of future observations to help interpret the system.



comets: general, planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability, stars: activity, stars: individual: KIC 8462852, stars: peculiar

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Oxford University Press
Royal Society (UF140298)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/N000927/1)
European Research Council (279973)
TSB acknowledges support provided through NASA grant ADAP12-0172 and ADAP14-0245. MCW and GMK acknowledge the support of the European Union through ERC grant number 279973. The authors acknowledge support from the Hungarian Research Grants OTKA K-109276, OTKA K-113117, the Lendület-2009 and Lendület-2012 Program (LP2012-31) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Hungarian National Research, Development and Innovation Office – NKFIH K-115709, and the ESA PECS Contract No. 4000110889/14/NL/NDe. This work was supported by the Momentum grant of the MTA CSFK Lendület Disc Research Group. GH acknowledges support by the Polish NCN grant 2011/01/B/ST9/05448. Based on observations made with the NOT, operated by the Nordic Optical Telescope Scientific Association at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma, Spain, of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. This research made use of The DASCH project; we are also grateful for partial support from NSF grants AST-0407380, AST-0909073, and AST-1313370. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreements no. 269194 (IRSES/ASK) and no. 312844 (SPACEINN). We thank Scott Dahm, Julie Rivera, and the Keck Observatory staff for their assistance with these observations. This research was supported in part by NSF grant AST-0909222 awarded to M. Liu. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. KS gratefully acknowledges support from Swiss National Science Foundation Grant PP00P2_138979/1. HJD and DN acknowledge support by grant AYA2012-39346-C02-02 of the Spanish Secretary of State for R&D&i (MINECO). This paper makes use of data from the first public release of the WASP data (Butters et al. 2010) as provided by the WASP consortium and services at the NASA Exoplanet Archive, which is operated by the California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under the Exoplanet Exploration Program. This publication makes use of data products from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, and NEOWISE, which is a project of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology. WISE and NEOWISE are funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This research made use of the SIMBAD and VIZIER Astronomical Databases, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France (, and of NASA's Astrophysics Data System.