Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Herbig Ae/Be star HD 100546's Disk is Being fed by its Gas Giant Exoplanets

High-resolution Br-gamma spectro-interferometry of the transitional Herbig Ae/Be star HD 100546: a Keplerian gaseous disc inside the inner rim


Mendigutía et al


We present spatially and spectrally resolved Br-gamma emission around the planet-hosting, transitional Herbig Ae/Be star HD 100546. Aiming to gain insight into the physical origin of the line in possible relation to accretion processes, we carried out Br-gamma spectro-interferometry using AMBER/VLTI from three different baselines achieving spatial and spectral resolutions of 2-4 mas and 12000. The Br-gamma visibility is larger than that of the continuum for all baselines. Differential phases reveal a shift between the photocentre of the Br-gamma line -displaced 0.6 mas (0.06 au at 100 pc) NE from the star- and that of the K-band continuum emission -displaced 0.3 mas NE from the star. The photocentres of the redshifted and blueshifted components of the Br-gamma line are located NW and SE from the photocentre of the peak line emission, respectively. Moreover, the photocentre of the fastest velocity bins within the spectral line tends to be closer to that of the peak emission than the photocentre of the slowest velocity bins. Our results are consistent with a Br-gamma emitting region inside the dust inner rim (less than 0.25 au) and extending very close to the central star, with a Keplerian, disc-like structure rotating counter-clockwise, and most probably flared (25 deg). Even though the main contribution to the Br-gamma line does not come from gas magnetically channelled on to the star, accretion on to HD 100546 could be magnetospheric, implying a mass accretion rate of a few 10^-7 Msun/yr. This value indicates that the observed gas has to be replenished on time-scales of a few months to years, perhaps by planet-induced flows from the outer to the inner disc as has been reported for similar systems.

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