Evidence for dynamical changes in a transitional protoplanetary disk with mid-infrared variability

James Muzerolle, Kevin Flaherty, Zoltan Balog, Elise Furlan, Paul S. Smith, Lori Allen, Nuria Calvet, Paola D'Alessio, S. Thomas Megeath, August Muench, George H. Rieke, William H. Sherry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


We present multi-epoch Spitzer Space Telescope observations of the transitional disk LRLL 31 in the 2-3 Myr old star-forming region IC 348. Our measurements show remarkable mid-infrared variability on timescales as short as one week. The infrared continuum emission exhibits systematic wavelength-dependent changes that suggest corresponding dynamical changes in the inner disk structure and variable shadowing of outer disk material. We propose several possible sources for the structural changes, including a variable accretion rate or a stellar or planetary companion embedded in the disk. Our results indicate that variability studies in the infrared can provide important new constraints on protoplanetary disk behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L15-L19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Planetary systems: protoplanetary disks
  • Stars: pre-main sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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