Saturday, September 30, 2017

An Incipient Debris Disk in the Chamaeleon I Cloud

An Incipient Debris Disk in the Chamaeleon I Cloud


Espaillat et al

The point at which a protoplanetary disk becomes a debris disk is difficult to identify. To better understand this, here we study the ∼40~AU separation binary T~54 in the Chamaeleon I cloud. We derive a K5 spectral type for T~54~A (which dominates the emission of the system) and an age of ∼2~Myr. However, the dust disk properties of T~54 are consistent with those of debris disks seen around older and earlier-type stars. At the same time, T~54 has evidence of gas remaining in the disk as indicated by [Ne II], [Ne III], and [O I] line detections. We model the spectral energy distribution of T~54 and estimate that ∼3×10−3 Earth-masses of small dust grains (<0 .25="" along="" an="" are="" at="" circumbinary="" disk="" earth-masses="" in="" larger="" least="" m="" of="" optically="" present="" thin="" with="">10~μm) grains within a circumprimary disk. Assuming a solar-like mixture, we use Ne line luminosities to place a minimum limit on the gas mass of the disk (∼3×10−4 Earth-masses) and derive a gas-to-dust mass ratio of ∼0.1. We do not detect substantial accretion, but we do see Hα in emission in one epoch, suggestive that there may be intermittent dumping of small amounts of matter onto the star. Considering the low dust mass, the presence of gas, and young age of T~54, we conclude that this system is on the bridge between the protoplanetary and debris disk stages.

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