A Caltech Library Service

Continuum and CO/HCO^+ Emission from the Disk Around the T Tauri Star LkCa 15

Qi, Chunhua and Kessler, Jacqueline E. and Koerner, David W. and Sargent, Anneila I. and Blake, Geoffrey A. (2003) Continuum and CO/HCO^+ Emission from the Disk Around the T Tauri Star LkCa 15. Astrophysical Journal, 597 (2). pp. 986-997. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1086/378494.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We present Owens Valley Radio Observatory Millimeter Array λ = 3.4-1.2 mm dust continuum and spectral line observations of the accretion disk encircling the T Tauri star LkCa 15. The 1.2 mm dust continuum emission is resolved and gives a minimum diameter of 190 AU and an inclination angle of 57° ± 5°. There is a noticeable but, at present, poorly constrained decrease in the continuum spectral slope with frequency that may result from the coupled processes of grain growth and dust settling. Imaging of the fairly intense emission from the lowest rotational transitions of CO, ^(13)CO, and HCO^+ reveals a rotating disk substantially larger than that observed in the dust continuum. Emission extends to ~750 AU and the characteristic radius of the disk is determined to be ~425 AU (HWHM), based on model fits to the CO velocity field. The measured line ratios demonstrate that the emission from these species is optically thick, while that from C^(18)O and H^(13)CO^+ is optically thin, or nearly so. The disk mass derived from the CO isotopologues with typical dense cloud abundances is still nearly 2 orders of magnitude less than that inferred from the dust emission, the most probable explanation being extensive molecular depletion in the cold, dense disk midplane. Thus, while CO, HCO^+, and their isotopologues are excellent tracers of the disk velocity field, they are not reliable tracers of the disk mass. N_2H^+ 1 → 0 emission has also been detected which, along with HCO^+, sets a lower limit to the fractional ionization of 10^(-8) in the near-surface regions of protoplanetary disks. This first detection of N_2H^+ in circumstellar disks has also made possible a determination of the N_2/CO ratio (~2) that is at least an order of magnitude larger than those in the envelopes of young stellar objects and dense clouds. The large N_2/CO ratio indicates that our observations probe disk layers in which CO is depleted but some N_2 remains in the gas phase. Such differential depletion can lead to large variations in the fractional ionization with height in the outer reaches of circumstellar disks and may help to explain the relative nitrogen deficiency observed in comets.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Qi, Chunhua0000-0001-8642-1786
Sargent, Anneila I.0000-0002-4633-5098
Blake, Geoffrey A.0000-0003-0787-1610
Additional Information:© 2003 American Astronomical Society. Received 2003 April 17; accepted 2003 July 11. The Owens Valley Radio Observatory is supported by NSF grant AST 99-81546. We are grateful to those OVRO staff members who diligently scheduled these time-consuming observations. We thank P. D’Alessio for providing the disk model of LkCa 15, D. Wilner and G. Sandell for sharing their unpublished data, and M. Hugerheijde for the development and use of the two-dimensional Monte Carlo radiative transfer model. J. E. K. is supported by the NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program, NGT5-50231. G.A.B. gratefully acknowledges support from the NASA Exobiology and Origins of Solar Systems programs.
Group:UNSPECIFIED, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFAST 99-81546
NASA Graduate Student Research FellowshipNGT5-50231
Subject Keywords:circumstellar matter; ISM: molecules; planetary systems: protoplanetary disks; radio lines: stars; stars: individual (LkCa 15)
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120918-134711209
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Continuum and CO/HCO+ Emission from the Disk Around the T Tauri Star LkCa 15 Chunhua Qi et al. 2003 ApJ 597 986
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:34185
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:18 Sep 2012 21:19
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:07

Repository Staff Only: item control page