The GALEX View of "boyajian's Star" (KIC 8462852)
The enigmatic star KIC 8462852, informally known as "Boyajian's Star," has exhibited unexplained variability from both short timescale (days) dimming events, and years-long fading in the Kepler mission. No single physical mechanism has successfully explained these observations to date. Here we investigate the ultraviolet variability of KIC 8462852 on a range of timescales using data from the GALEX mission that occurred contemporaneously with the Kepler mission. The wide wavelength baseline between the Kepler and GALEX data provides a unique constraint on the nature of the variability. Using 1600 s of photon-counting data from four GALEX visits spread over 70 days in 2011, we find no coherent NUV variability in the system on 10-100 s or month timescales. Comparing the integrated flux from these 2011 visits to the 2012 NUV flux published in the GALEX-CAUSE Kepler survey, we find a 3% decrease in brightness for KIC 8462852. We find that this level of variability is significant, but not necessarily unusual for stars of similar spectral type in the GALEX data. This decrease coincides with the secular optical fading reported by Montet & Simon. We find that the multi-wavelength variability is somewhat inconsistent with typical interstellar dust absorption, but instead favors a reddening law potentially from circumstellar dust.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Davenport, J., Covey, K., Clarke, R., Laycock, Z., Fleming, S., Boyajian, T., Montet, B., Shiao, B., Million, C., Wilson, D., Olmedo, M., Mamajek, E., Olmedo, D., Chávez, M., & Bertone, E. (2018). The GALEX View of "boyajian's Star" (KIC 8462852). Astrophysical Journal, 853 (2) https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aaa413