Evidence for a CO desorption front in the outer AS 209 disk
Huang et al
Millimeter observations of CO isotopologues are often used to make inferences about protoplanetary disk gas density and temperature structures. The accuracy of these estimates depends on our understanding of CO freezeout and desorption from dust grains. Most models of these processes indicate that CO column density decreases monotonically with distance from the central star due to a decrease in gas density and freezeout beyond the CO snowline. We present ALMA Cycle 2 observations of 12CO, 13CO, and C18O J=2−1 emission that instead suggest CO enhancement in the outer disk of T Tauri star AS 209. Most notably, the C18O emission consists of a central peak and a ring at a radius of ∼1″ (120 AU), well outside the expected CO snowline. We propose that the ring arises from the onset of CO desorption near the edge of the millimeter dust disk. CO desorption exterior to a CO snowline may occur via non-thermal processes involving cosmic rays or high-energy photons, or via a radial thermal inversion arising from dust migration.