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Published November 10, 2007 | Published
Journal Article Open

Near-infrared interferometric, spectroscopic, and photometric monitoring of T Tauri inner disks


We present high angular resolution observations with the Keck Interferometer, high-dispersion spectroscopic observations with Keck/NIRSPEC, and near-IR photometric observations from PAIRITEL of a sample of 11 solar-type T Tauri stars in nine systems. We use these observations to probe the circumstellar material within 1 AU of these young stars, measuring the circumstellar-to-stellar flux ratios and angular size scales of the 2.2 μm emission. Our sample spans a range of stellar luminosities and mass accretion rates, allowing investigation of potential correlations between inner disk properties and stellar or accretion properties. We suggest that the mechanism by which the dusty inner disk is truncated may depend on the accretion rate of the source; in objects with low accretion rates, the stellar magnetospheres may truncate the disks, while sublimation may truncate dusty disks around sources with higher accretion rates. We have also included in our sample objects that are known to be highly variable (based on previous photometric and spectroscopic observations), and for several sources, we obtained multiple epochs of spectroscopic and interferometric data, supplemented by near-IR photometric monitoring, to search for inner disk variability. While time-variable veilings and accretion rates are observed in some sources, no strong evidence for inner disk pulsation is found.

Additional Information

© 2007 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2007 May 28; accepted 2007 July 24. The near-IR interferometry data presented in this paper were obtained with the Keck Interferometer (KI), which is supported by NASA. We wish to thank the entire KI team for making these observations possible. KI and NIRSPEC observations were carried out at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and NASA. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. This work has used software from the Michelson Science Center at the California Institute of Technology. J. A. E. acknowledges support from a Miller Research Fellowship, and thanks G. Basri for useful discussions and input into various stages of this work. J. A. E. is also grateful to F. Ciesla for interesting discussions about dust sublimation temperatures, and to E. Lopez for his interest in this project.

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