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Published October 2008 | Published
Journal Article Open

Probing dust grain evolution in IM Lupi's circumstellar disc


Aims. We present a panchromatic study, involving a multiple technique approach, of the circumstellar disc surrounding the T Tauri star IM Lupi (Sz 82). Methods. We have undertaken a comprehensive observational study of IM Lupi using photometry, spectroscopy, millimetre interferometry and multi-wavelength imaging. For the first time, the disc is resolved from optical and near-infrared wavelengths in scattered light, to the millimetre regime in thermal emission. Our data-set, in conjunction with existing photometric data, provides an extensive coverage of the spectral energy distribution, including a detailed spectrum of the silicate emission bands. We have performed a simultaneous modelling of the various observations, using the radiative transfer code MCFOST, and analysed a grid of models over a large fraction of the parameter space via Bayesian inference. Results. We have constructed a model that can reproduce all of the observations of the disc. Our analysis illustrates the importance of combining a wide range of observations in order to fully constrain the disc model, with each observation providing a strong constraint only on some aspects of the disc structure and dust content. Quantitative evidence of dust evolution in the disc is obtained: grain growth up to millimetre-sized particles, vertical stratification of dust grains with micrometric grains close to the disc surface and larger grains which have settled towards the disc midplane, and possibly the formation of fluffy aggregates and/or ice mantles around grains.

Additional Information

© ESO 2008. Received 4 May 2008. Accepted 28 July 2008. Authors would like to thank T. Hill for valuable comments on the manuscript. Computations presented in this paper were performed at the Service Commun de Calcul Intensif de l'Observatoire de Grenoble (SCCI) and on the University of Exeter's SGI Altix ICE 8200 supercomputer. C. Pinte acknowledges the funding from the European Commission's Seventh Framework Program as a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow (PIEF-GA-2008-220891). The authors thank the Programme National de Physique Stellaire (PNPS) and l'Action Spécifique en Simulations Numériques pour l'Astronomie (ASSNA) of CNRS/INSU, France and Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR) of France under contract ANR-07-BLAN-0221, for supporting part of this research. This investigation was based, in part, on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated with programs G0/7387 and GO/10177. Support for these programs was provided by NASA through grants from STScI. This research has made use of the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France, and data from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (U.Mass, IPAC/CIT) funded by NASA and NSF. Support for this work, part of the Spitzer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, was provided by NASA through contracts 1224608, 1230779 and 1256316, issued by 650 C. Pinte et al.: Probing dust grain evolution in IM Lupi's circumstellar disc the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under NASA contract 1407. Astrochemistry in Leiden is supported by a NWO Spinoza grant and a NOVA grant, and by the European Research Training Network "The Origin of Planetary Systems" (PLANETS, contract number HPRN-CT-2002-00308).

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