DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stad3900 ISSN: 0035-8711

An outburst and FU Ori-type disk of a former low luminosity protostar

Mizna Ashraf, Jessy Jose, Ho-Gyu Lee, Carlos Contreras Peña, Gregory Herczeg, Hanpu Liu, Doug Johnstone, Jeong-Eun Lee
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


Strong accretion outbursts onto protostars are associated with emission dominated by a viscously heated disk, which is characterized by high luminosities. We report the discovery and characterization of a strong mid-IR (3.4, 4.6 $\mu$m) outburst in the embedded protostar SSTgbs J21470601+4739394 (hereafter SSTgbsJ214706). SSTgbsJ214706 has steadily brightened in the mid-infrared by ∼2 magnitudes over the past decade, as observed by NEOWISE. Follow-up investigations with the Gemini near-IR spectrograph reveal that SSTgbsJ214706 is a binary system with a spatially extended outflow. The outburst is occurring on the more embedded southeast (SE) component, which dominates the mid- and far-infrared emission from the source. The outbursting component exhibits a spectrum consistent with an FU Ori-type outburst, including the presence of enhanced absorption observed in the molecular bands of CO. The luminosity of the SE component is estimated to be ∼0.23  L⊙ before the outburst and ∼0.95  L⊙ during the outburst, which is 1 to 2 orders of magnitude fainter than bonafide FU Ori outbursts. We interpret this eruption as an FU Ori-type outburst, although the possibility of brightening following an extinction episode cannot be ruled out. We discuss the implications and potential explanations for such a low-luminosity eruption.

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