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RZ Psc

RZ Psc is a young Sun-like star, long associated with the UXor class of variable stars, which is partially or wholly dimmed by dust clumps several times each year. The system has a bright and variable infrared excess, which has been interpreted as evidence that the dimming events are the passage of asteroidal fragments in front of the host star. Here, we present a decade of optical photometry of RZ Psc and take a critical look at the asteroid belt interpretation. We show that the distribution of light curve gradients is non-uniform for deep events, which we interpret as possible evidence for an asteroidal fragment-like clump structure. However, the clumps are very likely seen above a high optical depth mid-plane, so the disk's bulk clumpiness is not revealed. While circumstantial evidence suggests an asteroid belt is more plausible than a gas-rich transition disk, the evolutionary status remains uncertain. We suggest that the rarity of Sun-like stars showing disk-related variability may arise because i) any accretion streams are transparent, and/or ii) turbulence above the inner rim is normally shadowed by a flared outer disk.

This repository contains nearly everything used in the analysis upon which this paper is based. The main thing missing will be IDL *.pro files for subroutines, most of which can be found in the NASA IDL library. I am happy to supply any others.

The compiled normalised light curve is in the file "figs/all-lc.txt".


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