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Title: Fast radial flows in transition disk holes

Protoplanetary 'transition' disks have large, mass-depleted central cavities, yet also deliver gas onto their host stars at rates comparable to disks without holes. The paradox of simultaneous transparency and accretion can be explained if gas flows inward at much higher radial speeds inside the cavity than outside the cavity, since surface density (and by extension optical depth) varies inversely with inflow velocity at fixed accretion rate. Radial speeds within the cavity might even have to approach free-fall values to explain the huge surface density contrasts inferred for transition disks. We identify observational diagnostics of fast radial inflow in channel maps made in optically thick spectral lines. Signatures include (1) twisted isophotes in maps made at low systemic velocities and (2) rotation of structures observed between maps made in high-velocity line wings. As a test case, we apply our new diagnostic tools to archival Atacama Large Millimeter Array data on the transition disk HD 142527 and uncover evidence for free-fall radial velocities inside its cavity. Although the observed kinematics are also consistent with a disk warp, the radial inflow scenario is preferred because it predicts low surface densities that appear consistent with recent observations of optically thin CO isotopologues in thismore » disk. How material in the disk cavity sheds its angular momentum wholesale to fall freely onto the star is an unsolved problem; gravitational torques exerted by giant planets or brown dwarfs are briefly discussed as a candidate mechanism.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  2. Departments of Astronomy and Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22351447
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 782; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCRETION DISKS; ANGULAR MOMENTUM; CARBON MONOXIDE; CAVITIES; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DENSITY; GAS FLOW; HOLES; MAPS; MASS; OPACITY; PLANETS; PROTOPLANETS; RADIAL VELOCITY; ROTATION; STARS; SURFACES