Evidence for a correlation between mass accretion rates onto young stars and the mass of their protoplanetary disks
Manara et al
A relation between the mass accretion rate onto the central young star and the mass of the surrounding protoplanetary disk has long been theoretically predicted and observationally sought. For the first time, we have accurately and homogeneously determined the photospheric parameters, the mass accretion rate, and the disk mass for an essentially complete sample of young stars with disks in the Lupus clouds. Our work combines the results of surveys conducted with VLT/X-Shooter and ALMA. With this dataset we are able to test a basic prediction of viscous accretion theory, the existence of a linear relation between the mass accretion rate onto the central star and the total disk mass. We find a correlation between the mass accretion rate and the disk dust mass, with a ratio that is roughly consistent with the expected viscous timescale when assuming an ISM gas-to-dust ratio. This confirms that mass accretion rates are related to the properties of the outer disk. We find no correlation between mass accretion rates and the disk mass measured by CO isotopologues emission lines, possibly due to the small number of measured disk gas masses. This suggests that the mm-sized dust mass better traces the total disk mass and that masses derived from CO may be underestimated, at least in some cases.