Sunday, December 28, 2014

Examining EX Lupi's Protoplanetary Disk

Depletion of molecular gas by an accretion outburst in a protoplanetary disk


Banzatti et al


We investigate new and archival 3-5 μm high resolution (∼3 km s−1) spectroscopy of molecular gas in the inner disk of the young solar-mass star EX Lupi, taken during and after the strong accretion outburst of 2008. The data were obtained using the CRIRES spectrometer at the ESO Very Large Telescope in 2008 and 2014. In 2008, emission lines from CO, H2O, and OH were detected with broad profiles tracing gas near and within the corotation radius (0.02-0.3 AU). In 2014, the spectra display marked differences. The CO lines, while still detected, are much weaker, and the H2O and OH lines have disappeared altogether. At 3 μm a veiled stellar photospheric spectrum is observed. Our analysis finds that the molecular gas mass in the inner disk has decreased by an order of magnitude since the outburst, matching a similar decrease in the accretion rate onto the star. We discuss these findings in the context of a rapid depletion of material accumulated beyond the disk corotation radius during quiescent periods, as proposed by models of episodic accretion in EXor type young stars.

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