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Published February 20, 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

Radial Structure in the TW Hya Circumstellar Disk


We present new near-infrared interferometric data from the CHARA array and the Keck Interferometer on the circumstellar disk of the young star, TW Hya, a proposed "transition disk." We use these data, as well as previously published, spatially resolved data at 10 μm and 7 mm, to constrain disk models based on a standard flared disk structure. We find that we can match the interferometry data sets and the overall spectral energy distribution with a three-component model, which combines elements at spatial scales proposed by previous studies: optically thin, emission nearest the star, an inner optically thick ring of emission at roughly 0.5 AU followed by an opacity gap and, finally, an outer optically thick disk starting at ~4 AU. The model demonstrates that the constraints imposed by the spatially resolved data can be met with a physically plausible disk but this requires a disk containing not only an inner gap in the optically thick disk as previously suggested, but also a gap between the inner and outer optically thick disks. Our model is consistent with the suggestion by Calvet et al. of a planet with an orbital radius of a few AU. We discuss the implications of an opacity gap within the optically thick disk.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 September 16; accepted 2010 December 14; published 2011 January 25. We thank the CHARA staff, particularly C. Farrington, for their excellent help in obtaining the data. We thank Meredith Hughes for providing data and Geoff Bryden for helpful discussions and the anonymous referee for suggestions which improved the paper. The CHARA Array is funded by the National Science Foundation through NSF grant AST-0908253, by Georgia State University through the College of Arts and Sciences, and by the W. M. Keck Foundation. The Keck Interferometer is funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of its Exoplanet Exploration program. This work was performed at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI), Caltech and made use of the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France and the NASA Star and Exoplanet Database (NStED) at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center and services at NExScI. NStED is jointly funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) via Research Opportunities in Space Sciences grant 2003 TPF-FS, and by NExScI.

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