Wednesday, May 25, 2016

HD 135344B's Protoplanetary Disk Shows Evidence of at Least one Gas Giant Protoplanet

Shadows cast on the transition disk of HD 135344B


Stolker et al


The protoplanetary disk of the F-type star HD 135344B (SAO 206462) is in a transition stage and shows many intriguing structures both in scattered light and thermal millimeter emission which are possibly related to planet formation processes and planet-disk interactions. We have carried out high-contrast polarimetric differential imaging (PDI) observations with VLT/SPHERE and obtained the first optical polarized scattered light images with the sub-instrument ZIMPOL in R- and I-band. Additionally, near-infrared polarimetric observations were done with IRDIS in Y- and J-band. We will use the scattered light images, surface brightness profiles and color to study in detail disk structures and brightness variations. The scattered light images reveal with unprecedented sensitivity and angular resolution the spiral arm structure of the disk as well as the inner disk cavity of 25 au in all filters. Multiple shadow features are discovered on the outer disk and the observations of the two epochs show indications of variability of one shadow. A positive surface brightness gradient is observed in the r^2-scaled images in south-west direction due to an azimuthally asymmetric perturbation of the temperature and/or surface density by the passing spiral arms. The scattering efficiency in polarized light shows a positive linear trend towards longer wavelengths presumably because of large/aggregate dust grains (2pi a greater than or equal lambda) in the disk surface. The shadows on the outer disk of HD 135344B could be cast by an inner dust belt which is 22 degrees inclined with respect to the outer disk, a warped disk region which connects the inner disk with the cavity and an accretion funnel flow from the inner disk onto the star. The wide open spiral arms indicate the presence of one or multiple massive protoplanets, a local disk instability beyond the dust cavity or a combination of the two.

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