Saturday, September 5, 2015

TW Hydrae's Protoplanetary Disk has a "Puffed up" Inner Rim

The Effects of Self-Shadowing by a Puffed up Inner Rim in Scattered Light Images of Protoplanetary Disks




We explore whether protoplanetary disks with self-shadowing from puffed up inner rims exhibit observable features in scattered light images. We use both self-consistent hydrostatic equilibrium calculations and parameterized models to produce the vertically puffed up inner rims. We find that, in general, the transition between the shadowed and flared regions occurs in a smooth manner over a broad radius range, and no sudden jump exists at the outer edge of the shadow in either the disk temperature or density structures. As a result, a puffed up rim cannot create sharp ring/arc/spiral-arm-like features in the outer disk as have been detected in recent direct NIR imaging of disks. On the other hand, if the puffed up rim has a sharp edge in the vertical direction, the shadowing effect can produce a distinct 3-stage broken power law in the radial intensity profile of the scattered light, with 2 steep surface brightness radial profiles in the inner and outer disk joined by a shallow transition region around the shadow edge. These types of scattered light profiles may have already been observed, such as in the recent Subaru direct imaging of the TW Hydrae system.

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