Mysterious eclipses in the light curve of KIC8462852: a possible explanation
Astronomical Institute, Slovak Academy of Sciences, 05960 Tatranská Lomnica, Slovak Republic
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Received: 20 July 2016
Accepted: 9 December 2016
Context. Apart from thousands of “regular” exoplanet candidates, Kepler satellite has discovered a small number of stars exhibiting peculiar eclipse-like events. They are most probably caused by disintegrating bodies transiting in front of the star. However, the nature of the bodies and obscuration events, such as those observed in KIC 8462852, remain mysterious. A swarm of comets or artificial alien mega-structures have been proposed as an explanation for the latter object.
Aims. We explore the possibility that such eclipses are caused by the dust clouds associated with massive parent bodies orbiting the host star.
Methods. We assumed a massive object and a simple model of the dust cloud surrounding the object. Then, we used the numerical integration to simulate the evolution of the cloud, its parent body, and resulting light-curves as they orbit and transit the star.
Results. We found that it is possible to reproduce the basic features in the light-curve of KIC 8462852 with only four objects enshrouded in dust clouds. The fact that they are all on similar orbits and that such models require only a handful of free parameters provides additional support for this hypothesis.
Conclusions. This model provides an alternative to the comet scenario. With such physical models at hand, at present, there is no need to invoke alien mega-structures for an explanation of these light-curves.
Key words: radiation: dynamics / minor planets, asteroids: general / planets and satellites: general / planet-star interactions / binaries: eclipsing
© ESO, 2017