- Imaging of a transitional disk gap in reflected light: indications of planet formation around the young solar analog LkCa 15
- Astrophysical Journal Letters
- Volume | Issue number
- 718 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
We present H- and K-s-band imaging data resolving the gap in the transitional disk around LkCa 15, revealing the surrounding nebulosity. We detect sharp elliptical contours delimiting the nebulosity on the inside as well as the outside, consistent with the shape, size, ellipticity, and orientation of starlight reflected from the far-side disk wall, whereas the near-side wall is shielded from view by the disk's optically thick bulk. We note that forward scattering of starlight on the near-side disk surface could provide an alternate interpretation of the nebulosity. In either case, this discovery provides confirmation of the disk geometry that has been proposed to explain the spectral energy distributions of such systems, comprising an optically thick disk with an inner truncation radius of similar to 46 AU enclosing a largely evacuated gap. Our data show an offset of the nebulosity contours along the major axis, likely corresponding to a physical pericenter offset of the disk gap. This reinforces the leading theory that dynamical clearing by at least one orbiting body is the cause of the gap. Based on evolutionary models, our high-contrast imagery imposes an upper limit of 21 M-Jup on companions at separations outside of 0 ''.1 and of 13 M-Jup outside of 0 ''.2. Thus, we find that a planetary system around LkCa 15 is the most likely explanation for the disk architecture.
- go to publisher's site
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.