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    Recent high angular resolution ALMA observations have revealed numerous gaps in protoplanetary discs. A popular interpretation has been that planets open them. Most previous investigations of planet gap-opening have concentrated on viscous discs. Here, we carry out 2D (axisymmetric) global simulations of gap opening by a planet in a wind-launching non-ideal MHD disc with consistent thermochemistry. We find a strong concentration of poloidal magnetic flux in the planet-opened gap, where the gas dynamics are magnetically dominated. The magnetic field also drives a fast (nearly sonic) meridional gas circulation in the denser disc regions near the inner and outer edges of the gap, which may be observable through high-resolution molecular line observations. The gap is more ionized than its denser surrounding regions, with a better magnetic field–matter coupling. In particular, it has a much higher abundance of molecular ion HCO+, consistent with ALMA observations of the well-studied AS 209 protoplanetary disc that has prominent gaps and fast meridional motions reaching the local sound speed. Finally, we provide fitting formulae for the ambipolar and Ohmic diffusivities as a function of the disc local density, which can be used for future 3D simulations of planet gap-opening in non-ideal MHD discs where thermochemistry is too computationally expensive to evolve self-consistently with the magneto-hydrodynamics.

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  2. Abstract

    Star formation is ubiquitously associated with the ejection of accretion-powered outflows that carve bipolar cavities through the infalling envelope. This feedback is expected to be important for regulating the efficiency of star formation from a natal prestellar core. These low-extinction outflow cavities greatly affect the appearance of a protostar by allowing the escape of shorter-wavelength photons. Doppler-shifted CO line emission from outflows is also often the most prominent manifestation of deeply embedded early-stage star formation. Here, we present 3D magnetohydrodynamic simulations of a disk wind outflow from a protostar forming from an initially 60Mcore embedded in a high-pressure environment typical of massive star-forming regions. We simulate the growth of the protostar fromm*= 1Mto 26Mover a period of ∼100,000 yr. The outflow quickly excavates a cavity with a half opening angle of ∼10° through the core. This angle remains relatively constant until the star reaches 4M. It then grows steadily in time, reaching a value of ∼50° by the end of the simulation. We estimate a lower limit to the star formation efficiency (SFE) of 0.43. However, accounting for continued accretion from a massive disk and residual infall envelope, we estimate that the final SFE may be as high as ∼0.7. We examine observable properties of the outflow, especially the evolution of the cavity's opening angle, total mass, and momentum flux, and the velocity distributions of the outflowing gas, and compare with the massive protostars G35.20-0.74N and G339.88-1.26 observed by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), yielding constraints on their intrinsic properties.

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  3. Abstract

    Studying the physical and chemical conditions of young embedded disks is crucial to constrain the initial conditions for planet formation. Here we present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array observations of dust continuum at ∼0.″06 (8 au) resolution and molecular line emission at ∼0.″17 (24 au) resolution toward the Class 0 protostar L1527 IRS from the Large Program eDisk (Early Planet Formation in Embedded Disks). The continuum emission is smooth without substructures but asymmetric along both the major and minor axes of the disk as previously observed. The detected lines of12CO,13CO, C18O, H2CO, c-C3H2, SO, SiO, and DCN trace different components of the protostellar system, with a disk wind potentially visible in12CO. The13CO brightness temperature and the H2CO line ratio confirm that the disk is too warm for CO freezeout, with the snowline located at ∼350 au in the envelope. Both molecules show potential evidence of a temperature increase around the disk–envelope interface. SO seems to originate predominantly in UV-irradiated regions such as the disk surface and the outflow cavity walls rather than at the disk–envelope interface as previously suggested. Finally, the continuum asymmetry along the minor axis is consistent with the inclination derived from the large-scale (100″ or 14,000 au) outflow, but opposite to that based on the molecular jet and envelope emission, suggesting a misalignment in the system. Overall, these results highlight the importance of observing multiple molecular species in multiple transitions to characterize the physical and chemical environment of young disks.

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    The size of dust grains, a, is key to the physical and chemical processes in circumstellar discs, but observational constraints of grain size remain challenging. (Sub)millimetre continuum observations often show a per cent-level polarization parallel to the disc minor axis, which is generally attributed to scattering by ${\sim}100\, \mu{\rm m}$-sized spherical grains (with a size parameter x ≡ 2$\pi$a/λ < 1, where λ is the wavelength). Larger spherical grains (with x greater than unity) would produce opposite polarization direction. However, the inferred size is in tension with the opacity index β that points to larger mm/cm-sized grains. We investigate the scattering-produced polarization by large irregular grains with a range of x greater than unity with optical properties obtained from laboratory experiments. Using the radiation transfer code, RADMC-3D, we find that large irregular grains still produce polarization parallel to the disc minor axis. If the original forsterite refractive index in the optical is adopted, then all samples can produce the typically observed level of polarization. Accounting for the more commonly adopted refractive index using the DSHARP dust model, only grains with x of several (corresponding to ∼mm-sized grains) can reach the same polarization level. Our results suggest that grains in discs can have sizes in the millimetre regime, which may alleviate the tension between the grain sizes inferred from scattering and other means. Additionally, if large irregular grains are not settled to the mid-plane, their strong forward scattering can produce asymmetries between the near and far side of an inclined disc, which can be used to infer their presence.

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    With the advent of ALMA, it is now possible to observationally constrain how discs form around deeply embedded protostars. In particular, the recent ALMA C3H2 line observations of the nearby protostar L1527 have been interpreted as evidence for the so-called ‘centrifugal barrier,’ where the protostellar envelope infall is gradually decelerated to a stop by the centrifugal force in a region of super-Keplerian rotation. To test the concept of centrifugal barrier, which was originally based on angular momentum conserving-collapse of a rotating test particle around a fixed point mass, we carry out simple axisymmetric hydrodynamic simulations of protostellar disc formation including a minimum set of ingredients: self-gravity, rotation, and a prescribed viscosity that enables the disc to accrete. We find that a super-Keplerian region can indeed exist when the viscosity is relatively large but, unlike the classic picture of centrifugal barrier, the infalling envelope material is not decelerated solely by the centrifugal force. The region has more specific angular momentum than its surrounding envelope material, which points to an origin in outward angular momentum transport in the disc (subject to the constraint of disc expansion by the infalling envelope), rather than the spin-up of the envelope material envisioned in the classic picture as it falls closer to the centre in order to conserve angular momentum. For smaller viscosities, the super-Keplerian rotation is weaker or non-existing. We conclude that, despite the existence of super-Keplerian rotation in some parameter regime, the classic picture of centrifugal barrier is not supported by our simulations.

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    Rings and gaps are commonly observed in the dust continuum emission of young stellar discs. Previous studies have shown that substructures naturally develop in the weakly ionized gas of magnetized, non-ideal MHD discs. The gas rings are expected to trap large mm/cm-sized grains through pressure gradient-induced radial dust–gas drift. Using 2D (axisymmetric) MHD simulations that include ambipolar diffusion and dust grains of three representative sizes (1 mm, 3.3 mm, and 1 cm), we show that the grains indeed tend to drift radially relative to the gas towards the centres of the gas rings, at speeds much higher than in a smooth disc because of steeper pressure gradients. However, their spatial distribution is primarily controlled by meridional gas motions, which are typically much faster than the dust–gas drift. In particular, the grains that have settled near the mid-plane are carried rapidly inwards by a fast accretion stream to the inner edges of the gas rings, where they are lifted up by the gas flows diverted away from the mid-plane by a strong poloidal magnetic field. The flow pattern in our simulation provides an attractive explanation for the meridional flows recently inferred in HD 163296 and other discs, including both ‘collapsing’ regions where the gas near the disc surface converges towards the mid-plane and a disc wind. Our study highlights the prevalence of the potentially observable meridional flows associated with the gas substructure formation in non-ideal MHD discs and their crucial role in generating rings and gaps in dust.

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  7. Abstract

    Gas mass is a fundamental quantity of protoplanetary disks that directly relates to their ability to form planets. Because we are unable to observe the bulk H2content of disks directly, we rely on indirect tracers to provide quantitative mass estimates. Current estimates for the gas masses of the observed disk population in the Lupus star-forming region are based on measurements of isotopologues of CO. However, without additional constraints, the degeneracy between H2mass and the elemental composition of the gas leads to large uncertainties in such estimates. Here, we explore the gas compositions of seven disks from the Lupus sample representing a range of CO-to-dust ratios. With Band 6 and 7 ALMA observations, we measure line emission for HCO+, HCN, and N2H+. We find a tentative correlation among the line fluxes for these three molecular species across the sample, but no correlation with13CO or submillimeter continuum fluxes. For the three disks where N2H+is detected, we find that a combination of high disk gas masses and subinterstellar C/H and O/H are needed to reproduce the observed values. We find increases of ∼10–100× previous mass estimates are required to match the observed line fluxes. This work highlights how multimolecular studies are essential for constraining the physical and chemical properties of the gas in populations of protoplanetary disks, and that CO isotopologues alone are not sufficient for determining the mass of many observed disks.

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    Telescopes are now able to resolve dust polarization across circumstellar discs at multiple wavelengths, allowing the study of the polarization spectrum. Most discs show clear evidence of dust scattering through their unidirectional polarization pattern typically at the shorter wavelength of $\sim 870 \, \mu$m. However, certain discs show an elliptical pattern at ∼3 mm, which is likely due to aligned grains. With HL Tau, its polarization pattern at ∼1.3 mm shows a transition between the two patterns making it the first example to reveal such transition. We use the T-matrix method to model elongated dust grains and properly treat scattering of aligned non-spherical grains with a plane-parallel slab model. We demonstrate that a change in optical depth can naturally explain the polarization transition of HL Tau. At low optical depths, the thermal polarization dominates, while at high optical depths, dichroic extinction effectively takes out the thermal polarization and scattering polarization dominates. Motivated by results from the plane-parallel slab, we develop a simple technique to disentangle thermal polarization of the aligned grains T0 and polarization due to scattering S using the azimuthal variation of the polarization fraction. We find that, with increasing wavelength, the fractional polarization spectrum of the scattering component S decreases, while the thermal component T0 increases, which is expected since the optical depth decreases. We find several other sources similar to HL Tau that can be explained by azimuthally aligned scattering prolate grains when including optical depth effects. In addition, we explore how spirally aligned grains with scattering can appear in polarization images.

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  9. Abstract We present an overview of the Large Program, “Early Planet Formation in Embedded Disks (eDisk),” conducted with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The ubiquitous detections of substructures, particularly rings and gaps, in protoplanetary disks around T Tauri stars raise the possibility that at least some planet formation may have already started during the embedded stages of star formation. In order to address exactly how and when planet formation is initiated, the program focuses on searching for substructures in disks around 12 Class 0 and 7 Class I protostars in nearby (<200 pc) star-forming regions through 1.3 mm continuum observations at a resolution of ∼7 au (0.″04). The initial results show that the continuum emission, mostly arising from dust disks around the sample protostars, has relatively few distinctive substructures, such as rings and spirals, in marked contrast to Class II disks. The dramatic difference may suggest that substructures quickly develop in disks when the systems evolve from protostars to Class II sources, or alternatively that high optical depth of the continuum emission could obscure internal structures. Kinematic information obtained through CO isotopologue lines and other lines reveals the presence of Keplerian disks around protostars, providing us with crucial physical parameters, in particular, the dynamical mass of the central protostars. We describe the background of the eDisk program, the sample selection and their ALMA observations, and the data reduction, and we also highlight representative first-look results. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 28, 2024
  10. Abstract We present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array Band 3 data toward five massive young stellar objects (MYSOs), and investigate relationships between unsaturated carbon-chain species and saturated complex organic molecules (COMs). An HC 5 N ( J = 35–34) line has been detected from three MYSOs, where nitrogen (N)-bearing COMs (CH 2 CHCN and CH 3 CH 2 CN) have been detected. The HC 5 N spatial distributions show compact features and match with a methanol (CH 3 OH) line with an upper-state energy around 300 K, which should trace hot cores. The hot regions are more extended around the MYSOs where N-bearing COMs and HC 5 N have been detected compared to two MYSOs without these molecular lines, while there are no clear differences in the bolometric luminosity and temperature. We run chemical simulations of hot-core models with a warm-up stage, and compare with the observational results. The observed abundances of HC 5 N and COMs show good agreements with the model at the hot-core stage with temperatures above 160 K. These results indicate that carbon-chain chemistry around the MYSOs cannot be reproduced by warm carbon-chain chemistry, and a new type of carbon-chain chemistry occurs in hot regions around MYSOs. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 27, 2024