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Astrophysical Journal


GM Cephei (GM Cep), in the young (similar to 4 Myr) open cluster Trumpler 37, has been known to be an abrupt variable and to have a circumstellar disk with a very active accretion. Our monitoring observations in 2009-2011 revealed that the star showed sporadic flare events, each with a brightening of less than or similar to 0.5 mag lasting for days. These brightening events, associated with a color change toward blue, should originate from increased accretion activity. Moreover, the star also underwent a brightness drop of similar to 1 mag lasting for about a month, during which time the star became bluer when fainter. Such brightness drops seem to have a recurrence timescale of a year, as evidenced in our data and the photometric behavior of GM Cep over a century. Between consecutive drops, the star brightened gradually by about 1 mag and became blue at peak luminosity. We propose that the drop is caused by the obscuration of the central star by an orbiting dust concentration. The UX Orionis type of activity in GM Cep therefore exemplifies the disk inhomogeneity process in transition between the grain coagulation and the planetesimal formation in a young circumstellar disk.


This work is freely available courtesy of IOP Publishing and the American Astronomical Society.