Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hunting for the Exoplanets in HD 100546's Protoplanetary Disk

The SPHERE view of the planet-forming disk around HD100546


Garufi et al


We image with unprecedented spatial resolution and sensitivity disk features that could be potential signs of planet-disk interaction. Two companion candidates have been claimed in the disk around the young Herbig Ae/Be star HD100546. Thus, this object serves as an excellent target for our investigation of the natal environment of giant planets. We exploit the power of extreme adaptive optics operating in conjunction with the new high-contrast imager SPHERE to image HD100546 in scattered light. We obtain the first polarized light observations of this source in the visible (with resolution as fine as 2 AU) and new H and K band total intensity images that we analyze with the Pynpoint package. The disk shows a complex azimuthal morphology, where multiple scattering of photons most likely plays an important role. High brightness contrasts and arm-like structures are ubiquitous in the disk. A double-wing structure (partly due to ADI processing) resembles a morphology newly observed in inclined disks. Given the cavity size in the visible (11 AU), the CO emission associated to the planet candidate 'c' might arise from within the circumstellar disk. We find an extended emission in the K band at the expected location of 'b'. The surrounding large-scale region is the brightest in scattered light. There is no sign of any disk gap associated to 'b'.

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