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  1. ABSTRACT

    Despite many methods developed to find young massive planets in protoplanetary discs, it is challenging to directly detect low-mass planets that are embedded in discs. On the other hand, the core-accretion theory suggests that there could be a large population of embedded low-mass young planets at the Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) contraction phase. We adopt both 1D models and 3D simulations to calculate the envelopes around low-mass cores (several to tens of M⊕) with different luminosities, and derive their thermal fluxes at radio wavelengths. We find that, when the background disc is optically thin at radio wavelengths, radio observations can see through the disc and probe the denser envelope within the planet’s Hill sphere. When the optically thin disc is observed with the resolution reaching one disc scale height, the radio thermal flux from the planetary envelope around a 10 M⊕ core is more than 10 per cent higher than the flux from the background disc. The emitting region can be extended and elongated. Finally, our model suggests that the au-scale clump at 52 au in the TW Hydrae disc revealed by ALMA is consistent with the envelope of an embedded 10–20 M⊕ planet, which can explain the detected flux, the spectral index dip,more »and the tentative spirals. The observation is also consistent with the planet undergoing pebble accretion. Future ALMA and ngVLA observations may directly reveal more such low-mass planets, enabling us to study core growth and even reconstruct the planet formation history using the embedded ‘protoplanet’ population.

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  2. Abstract High spatial resolution CO observations of midinclination (≈30°–75°) protoplanetary disks offer an opportunity to study the vertical distribution of CO emission and temperature. The asymmetry of line emission relative to the disk major axis allows for a direct mapping of the emission height above the midplane, and for optically thick, spatially resolved emission in LTE, the intensity is a measure of the local gas temperature. Our analysis of Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array archival data yields CO emission surfaces, dynamically constrained stellar host masses, and disk atmosphere gas temperatures for the disks around the following: HD 142666, MY Lup, V4046 Sgr, HD 100546, GW Lup, WaOph 6, DoAr 25, Sz 91, CI Tau, and DM Tau. These sources span a wide range in stellar masses (0.50–2.10 M ⊙ ), ages (∼0.3–23 Myr), and CO gas radial emission extents (≈200–1000 au). This sample nearly triples the number of disks with mapped emission surfaces and confirms the wide diversity in line emitting heights ( z / r ≈ 0.1 to ≳0.5) hinted at in previous studies. We compute the radial and vertical CO gas temperature distributions for each disk. A few disks show local temperature dips or enhancements, some of which correspondmore »to dust substructures or the proposed locations of embedded planets. Several emission surfaces also show vertical substructures, which all align with rings and gaps in the millimeter dust. Combining our sample with literature sources, we find that CO line emitting heights weakly decline with stellar mass and gas temperature, which, despite large scatter, is consistent with simple scaling relations. We also observe a correlation between CO emission height and disk size, which is due to the flared structure of disks. Overall, CO emission surfaces trace ≈2–5× gas pressure scale heights (H g ) and could potentially be calibrated as empirical tracers of H g .« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  3. Abstract We report the discovery of a circumplanetary disk (CPD) candidate embedded in the circumstellar disk of the T Tauri star AS 209 at a radial distance of about 200 au (on-sky separation of 1.″4 from the star at a position angle of 161°), isolated via 13 CO J = 2−1 emission. This is the first instance of CPD detection via gaseous emission capable of tracing the overall CPD mass. The CPD is spatially unresolved with a 117 × 82 mas beam and manifests as a point source in 13 CO, indicating that its diameter is ≲14 au. The CPD is embedded within an annular gap in the circumstellar disk previously identified using 12 CO and near-infrared scattered-light observations and is associated with localized velocity perturbations in 12 CO. The coincidence of these features suggests that they have a common origin: an embedded giant planet. We use the 13 CO intensity to constrain the CPD gas temperature and mass. We find that the CPD temperature is ≳35 K, higher than the circumstellar disk temperature at the radial location of the CPD, 22 K, suggesting that heating sources localized to the CPD must be present. The CPD gas mass is ≳0.095more »M Jup ≃ 30 M ⊕ adopting a standard 13 CO abundance. From the nondetection of millimeter continuum emission at the location of the CPD (3 σ flux density ≲26.4 μ Jy), we infer that the CPD dust mass is ≲0.027 M ⊕ ≃ 2.2 lunar masses, indicating a low dust-to-gas mass ratio of ≲9 × 10 −4 . We discuss the formation mechanism of the CPD-hosting giant planet on a wide orbit in the framework of gravitational instability and pebble accretion.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 27, 2023
  4. ABSTRACT

    We present multi-instrument observations of the disc around the Herbig Ae star, HD 145718, employing geometric and Monte Carlo radiative transfer models to explore the disc orientation, the vertical and radial extent of the near-infrared (NIR) scattering surface, and the properties of the dust in the disc surface and sublimation rim. The disc appears inclined at 67–71°, with position angle, PA = −1.0 to 0.6°, consistent with previous estimates. The NIR scattering surface extends out to ${\sim}75\,$ au and we infer an aspect ratio, hscat(r)/r ∼ 0.24 in J band; ∼0.22 in H band. Our Gemini Planet Imager images and VLTI + CHARA NIR interferometry suggest that the disc surface layers are populated by grains ≳λ/2π in size, indicating these grains are aerodynamically supported against settling and/or the density of smaller grains is relatively low. We demonstrate that our geometric analysis provides a reasonable assessment of the height of the NIR scattering surface at the outer edge of the disc and, if the inclination can be independently constrained, has the potential to probe the flaring exponent of the scattering surface in similarly inclined (i ≳ 70°) discs. In re-evaluating HD 145718’s stellar properties, we found that the object’s dimming events – previously characterized as UX Ormore »and dipper variability – are consistent with dust occultation by grains larger, on average, than found in the ISM. This occulting dust likely originates close to the inferred dust sublimation radius at $0.17\,$ au.

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  5. Abstract UV photochemistry in the surface layers of protoplanetary disks dramatically alters their composition relative to previous stages of star formation. The abundance ratio CN/HCN has long been proposed to trace the UV field in various astrophysical objects; however, to date the relationship between CN, HCN, and the UV field in disks remains ambiguous. As part of the ALMA Large Program MAPS (Molecules with ALMA at Planet-forming Scales), we present observations of CN N = 1–0 transitions at 0.″3 resolution toward five disk systems. All disks show bright CN emission within ∼50–150 au, along with a diffuse emission shelf extending up to 600 au. In all sources we find that the CN/HCN column density ratio increases with disk radius from about unity to 100, likely tracing increased UV penetration that enhances selective HCN photodissociation in the outer disk. Additionally, multiple millimeter dust gaps and rings coincide with peaks and troughs, respectively, in the CN/HCN ratio, implying that some millimeter substructures are accompanied by changes to the UV penetration in more elevated disk layers. That the CN/HCN ratio is generally high (>1) points to a robust photochemistry shaping disk chemical compositions and also means that CN is the dominant carrier ofmore »the prebiotically interesting nitrile group at most disk radii. We also find that the local column densities of CN and HCN are positively correlated despite emitting from vertically stratified disk regions, indicating that different disk layers are chemically linked. This paper is part of the MAPS special issue of the Astrophysical Journal Supplement.« less