This week we look at the new Gaia alert Gaia24beh. It was published yesterday (April 10, 2024) and the source is situated in the Pelican Nebula target region of HOYS. It is a good indication that the summer targets are now visible again after their spell near the Sun.

The object is a known (2MASS J20505039+4450115) young star and has been classified as Orion Variable. The Gaia light curve indeed shows that it varies erratically over longer time scales. The range in magnitudes is quite large with 14.5mag at its brightest and 18.5mag at its faintest in the Gaia G-Band, which roughly corresponds to the R-band magnitudes.

In the plot above we show the last year of HOYS data for the source. It is reasonably sparse. This is caused by a number of factors. This field is only visible from the northern hemisphere especially in the autumn and winter. And (at least in the UK) the weather conditions last winter have not been good. Furthermore, the target is quite far from the nominal field centre. Hence, it is not included in many of the smaller field of view images we get for this field.

We see in the HOYS light curve that the target has been steadily increasing it’s brightness over the last year by about 1.5mag. The last Gaia observation (which caused the alert) was taken on 2.4.2024. Coincidently we observed the target on the day of the alert publication (10.2.2024) with the University of Kent’s Beacon Observatory. These data can be seen as the last set of BVRI data points in the light curve. It seems that the source has started to drop again in brightness. Given the range in brightness for the object over the last 10yr in Gaia, this is not surprising as it is now close to the maximum in that time. But one never knows what happens. Time will tell, and we will have another look at the source in the future…..