A. I. Sargent

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, United States

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Publications (171)601.42 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present subarcsecond resolution observations of continuum emission associated with the GG Tau quadruple star system at wavelengths of 1.3, 2.8, 7.3, and 50 mm. These data confirm that the GG Tau A binary is encircled by a circumbinary ring at a radius of 235 AU with a FWHM width of ~60 AU. We find no clear evidence for a radial gradient in the spectral shape of the ring, suggesting that the particle size distribution is spatially homogeneous on angular scales 0.''1. A central point source, likely associated with the primary component (GG Tau Aa), exhibits a composite spectrum from dust and free-free emission. Faint emission at 7.3 mm is observed toward the low-mass star GG Tau Ba, although its origin remains uncertain. Using these measurements of the resolved, multifrequency emission structure of the GG Tau A system, models of the far-infrared to radio spectrum are developed to place constraints on the grain size distribution and dust mass in the circumbinary ring. The non-negligible curvature present in the ring spectrum implies a maximum particle size of 1-10 mm, although we are unable to place strong constraints on the distribution shape. The corresponding dust mass is 30-300 M ⊕, at a temperature of 20-30 K. We discuss how this significant concentration of relatively large particles in a narrow ring at a large radius might be produced in a local region of higher gas pressures (i.e., a particle "trap") located near the inner edge of the circumbinary disk.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2014; 787(2):148. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For over a decade, the structure of the inner cavity in the transition disk of TW Hydrae has been a subject of debate. Modeling the disk with data obtained at different wavelengths has led to a variety of proposed disk structures. Rather than being inconsistent, the individual models might point to the different faces of physical processes going on in disks, such as dust growth and planet formation. Our aim is to investigate the structure of the transition disk again and to find to what extent we can reconcile apparent model differences. A large set of high-angular-resolution data was collected from near-infrared to centimeter wavelengths. We investigated the existing disk models and established a new self-consistent radiative-transfer model. A genetic fitting algorithm was used to automatize the parameter fitting. Simple disk models with a vertical inner rim and a radially homogeneous dust composition from small to large grains cannot reproduce the combined data set. Two modifications are applied to this simple disk model: (1) the inner rim is smoothed by exponentially decreasing the surface density in the inner ~3 AU, and (2) the largest grains (>100 um) are concentrated towards the inner disk region. Both properties can be linked to fundamental processes that determine the evolution of protoplanetary disks: the shaping by a possible companion and the different regimes of dust-grain growth, respectively. The full interferometric data set from near-infrared to centimeter wavelengths requires a revision of existing models for the TW Hya disk. We present a new model that incorporates the characteristic structures of previous models but deviates in two key aspects: it does not have a sharp edge at 4 AU, and the surface density of large grains differs from that of smaller grains. This is the first successful radiative-transfer-based model for a full set of interferometric data.
    02/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: For over a decade, the structure of the inner ``hole'' in the transition disk around TW Hydrae has been a subject of debate. To probe the innermost regions of the protoplanetary disk, observations at the highest possible spatial resolution are required. We present new interferometric data of TW Hya from near-infrared to millimeter wavelengths. We confront existing models of the disk structure with the complete data set and develop a new, detailed radiative-transfer model. This model is characterized by: 1) a spatial separation of the largest grains from the small disk grains; and 2) a smooth inner rim structure, rather than a sharp disk edge.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: TW Hya is a nearby (50 pc) young stellar object with an estimated age of 10 Myr and signs of active accretion. Previous modeling of the circumstellar disk has shown that the inner disk contains optically thin material, placing this object in the class of "transition disks". We present new near-infrared interferometric observations of the disk material and use these data, as well as previously published, spatially resolved data at 10 microns and 7 mm, to constrain disk models based on a standard flared disk structure. Our 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 some optically thick material within this gap. Our model is consistent with the suggestion by previous authors of a planet with an orbital radius of a few AU. This work was conducted at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, California Institute of Technology.
    05/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: 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.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2011; 728(2):96. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present 3.6 to 70 μm Spitzer photometry of 154 weak-line T Tauri stars (WTTSs) in the Chamaeleon, Lupus, Ophiuchus, and Taurus star formation regions, all of which are within 200 pc of the Sun. For a comparative study, we also include 33 classical T Tauri stars which are located in the same star-forming regions. Spitzer sensitivities allow us to robustly detect the photosphere in the IRAC bands (3.6 to 8 μm) and the 24 μm MIPS band. In the 70 μm MIPS band, we are able to detect dust emission brighter than roughly 40 times the photosphere. These observations represent the most sensitive WTTSs survey in the mid- to far-infrared to date and reveal the frequency of outer disks (r = 3-50 AU) around WTTSs. The 70 μm photometry for half the c2d WTTSs sample (the on-cloud objects), which were not included in the earlier papers in this series, those of Padgett et al. and Cieza et al., are presented here for the first time. We find a disk frequency of 19% for on-cloud WTTSs, but just 5% for off-cloud WTTSs, similar to the value reported in the earlier works. WTTSs exhibit spectral energy distributions that are quite diverse, spanning the range from optically thick to optically thin disks. Most disks become more tenuous than L disk/L * = 2 × 10–3 in 2 Myr and more tenuous than L disk/L * = 5 × 10–4 in 4 Myr.
    The Astrophysical Journal 11/2010; 724(2):835. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we present the results of a high resolution (5") CARMA and SZA survey of the 3mm continuum emission from 11 of the brightest (at 1.1mm) starless cores in the Perseus molecular cloud. We detect 2 of the 11 cores, both of which are composed of single structures, and the median 3 sigma upper limit for the non-detections is 0.2 M_sun in a 5" beam. These results are consisent with, and as stringent as, the low detection rate of compact 3mm continuum emission in dense cores in Perseus reported by Olmi et al. (2005). From the non-detection of multiple components in any of the eleven cores we conclude that starless core mass functions derived from bolometer maps at resolutions from 10"-30" (e.g. with MAMBO, SCUBA or Bolocam) are unlikely to be significantly biased by the blending of lower mass cores with small separations. These observations provide additional evidence that the majority of starless cores in Perseus have inner density profiles shallower than r^-2. Comment: 9 pages, including 3 figures and 3 tables. Accepted to ApJ
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2010; · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Astronomy In this paper, we present a dust emission map of the starless core TMC-1C taken at 2100 μm. Along with maps at 160, 450, 850, and 1200 μm, we study the dust emissivity spectral index from the (sub)millimeter spectral energy distribution, and find that it is close to the typically assumed value of β = 2. We also map the dust temperature and column density in TMC-1C, and find that at the position of the dust peak (A_V ~ 50) the line-of-sight-averaged temperature is ~7 K. Employing simple Monte Carlo modeling, we show that the data are consistent with a constant value for the emissivity spectral index over the whole map of TMC-1C.
    The Astrophysical Journal 11/2009; · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The observations here were all obtained by the c2d project or by GTO observations that we have included in our data. They have been described in the publications given hereafter: Five large clouds were selected for the c2d project: Serpens (Eiroa et al., 2008hsf2.book..693E), Perseus (Bally et al., 2008hsf1.book..308B), Ophiuchus (Wilking et al., 2008hsf2.book..351W), Lupus (Comeron, 2008hsf2.book..295C), and Chamaeleon (Luhman, 2008hsf2.book..169L). (5 data files).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 10/2009; 218:10321.
  • 07/2009;
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    ABSTRACT: Optical & Near-IR (OIR) Interferometry as a discipline has been contributing astrophysically-significant results since the work of Michelson et al in the 20s, and Hanbury-Brown et al in the 60s. Starting with the MarkIII interferometer at Mt Wilson in the 80s and 90s, OIR interferometry has made astrometrically-relevant contributions. In this talk I will give a brief overview of OIR interferometry as a technique, summarize its astrometric scientific contributions, and discuss examples synthesizing OIR and radio interferometry, including the analysis of the PMS binary system V773 Tau A.
    07/2009;
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    ABSTRACT: Infrared Dark Clouds (IRDCs) are cold and dense regions (T 105 cm-3) that are seen as extinction features against the bright mid-IR Galactic background. IRDCs harbor compact cores, which have the same sizes and masses as embedded clusters and are believed to be precursors to stellar clusters. The Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy (CARMA) presents an exceptional opportunity to study in detail the structure and dynamics of these proto-cluster cores at high angular resolution. We present millimeter continuum observations obtained with CARMA of 22 IRDC cores, selected from the dense cores found in the Cygnus-X region (Motte et al. 2007) and from the IRDC cores survey of Rathborne et al. (2006). The objective of this study is to establish the presence of mass segregation at the formative stage of an stellar cluster. Millimeter continuum emission from compact sources, hereafter referred as kernels, was detected towards most of the IRDC cores observed, and in total we detected 56 kernels. We analyze the spatial distribution of the kernels with respect to the large scale IRDC core, to investigate whether or not mass segregation is present in this early stage of cluster formation. We calculate the mass fraction of the IRDC core present in the detected kernels using the emission from the millimeter continuum images and published 1.2 mm and 850 mum flux densities. The derived mass for the kernels range between few solar masses to ? M&sun;, which indicates that they can potentially form high mass stars, and the observed kernel sizes vary from 2000 to 2 × 104 AU. We were able to establish that for the majority of the IRDC cores studied the mass of the kernels found in their interiors encompass a large fraction of the total mass of the IRDC core.
    01/2009;
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    ABSTRACT: We present observations of 10.6 deg2 of the Perseus molecular cloud at 24, 70, and 160 μm with Spitzer MIPS. The images show prominent, complex extended emission dominated by illuminating B stars on the east side of the cloud and by cold filaments of 160 μm emission on the west side. Of 3950 point sources identified at 24 μm, 1141 have 2MASS counterparts. A quarter of these populate regions of the Ks versus Ks - [24] diagram that are distinct from stellar photospheres and background galaxies and thus are likely to be cloud members with infrared excess. Nearly half (46%) of these 24 μm excess sources are distributed outside the IC 348 and NGC 1333 clusters. A significant number of IRAS PSC objects are not recovered by Spitzer MIPS, most often because the IRAS objects were confused by bright nebulosity. The intercluster region contains several tightly clumped (r ~ 0.1 pc) young stellar aggregates whose members exhibit a wide variety of infrared SEDs characteristic of different circumstellar environments. This could be explained by a significant age spread among the aggregate members, or if the members formed at the same time, a remarkably rapid circumstellar evolution would be required to account for the association of Class I and Class III sources at ages 1 Myr. We highlight important results for the HH 211 flow, where the bow shocks are detected at both 24 and 70 μm, and for the debris disk candidate BD +31 643, where the MIPS data show the linear nebulosity to be an unrelated interstellar feature. Our data, mosaics, and catalogs are available at the Spitzer Science Archive for use by interested members of the community.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 12/2008; 171(2):447. · 16.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present observations of the T Tauri stars BP Tau, DG Tau, DI Tau, GM Aur, LkCa 15, RW Aur, and V830 Tau, using long baseline infrared interferometry at K band (2.2 μm) from the Keck Interferometer. The target sources have a range of mass accretion rates and excess near-infrared emission. The interferometer is most sensitive to extended emission on characteristic size scales of 1-5 mas. All sources show evidence for resolved K-band emission on these scales, although a few of the sources are marginally consistent with being unresolved. We calculate the infrared excess based on fitting stellar photosphere models to the optical photometry and estimate the physical size of the emission region using simple geometric models for the sources with a significant infrared excess. Assuming that the K-band-resolved emission traces the inner edge of the dust disk, we compare the measured characteristic sizes to predicted dust sublimation radii and find that the models require a range of dust sublimation temperatures and possibly optical depths within the inner rim to match the measured radii.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 635(2):1173. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report novel, high angular resolution interferometric measurements that imply that the near-infrared nuclear emission in NGC 4151 is unexpectedly compact. We have observed the nucleus of NGC 4151 at 2.2 μm using the two 10 m Keck telescopes as an interferometer and find a marginally resolved source ≤0.1 pc in diameter. Our measurements rule out models in which a majority of the K-band nuclear emission is produced on scales larger than this size. The interpretation of our measurement most consistent with other observations is that the emission mainly originates directly in the central accretion disk. This implies that active galactic nucleus unification models invoking hot, optically thick dust may not be applicable to NGC 4151.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 596(2):L163. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, we have observed 90 weak-line and classical T Tauri stars in the vicinity of the Ophiuchus, Lupus, Chamaeleon, and Taurus star-forming regions as part of the Cores to Disks (c2d) Spitzer Legacy project. In addition to the Spitzer data, we have obtained contemporaneous optical photometry to assist in constructing spectral energy distributions. These objects were specifically chosen as solar-type young stars with low levels of Hα emission, strong X-ray emission, and lithium absorption, i.e., weak-line T Tauri stars, most of which were undetected in the mid- to far-IR by the IRAS survey. Weak-line T Tauri stars are potentially extremely important objects in determining the timescale over which disk evolution may take place. Our objective is to determine whether these young stars are diskless or have remnant disks that are below the detection threshold of previous infrared missions. We find that only 5/83 weak-line T Tauri stars have detectable excess emission between 3.6 and 70 μm, which would indicate the presence of dust from the inner few tenths of an AU out to the planet-forming regions a few tens of AU from the star. Of these sources, two have small excesses at 24 μm consistent with optically thin disks; the others have optically thick disks already detected by previous IR surveys. All of the seven classical T Tauri stars show excess emission at 24 and 70 μm although their properties vary at shorter wavelengths. Our initial results show that disks are rare among young stars selected for their weak Hα emission.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 645(2):1283. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present new K-band long-baseline interferometer observations of three young stellar objects of the FU Orionis class, namely, V1057 Cyg, V1515 Cyg, and Z CMa-SE, obtained at the Keck Interferometer during its commissioning science period. The interferometer clearly resolves the source of near-infrared emission in all three objects. Using simple geometric models, we derive size scales (0.5-4.5 AU) for this emission. All three objects appear significantly more resolved than expected from simple models of accretion disks tuned to fit the broadband optical and infrared spectrophotometry. We explore variations in the key parameters that are able to lower the predicted visibility amplitudes to the measured levels and conclude that accretion disks alone do not reproduce the spectral energy distributions and K-band visibilities simultaneously. We conclude that either disk models are inadequate to describe the near-infrared emission or additional source components are needed. We hypothesize that large-scale emission (tens of AU) in the interferometer field of view is responsible for the surprisingly low visibilities. This emission may arise in scattering by large envelopes believed to surround these objects.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 641(1):547. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To study the physical and chemical evolution of ices in solar-mass systems, a spectral survey is conducted of a sample of 41 low-luminosity YSOs (L ~ 0.1–10 L☉) using 3-38 μm Spitzer and ground-based spectra. The sample is complemented with previously published Spitzer spectra of background stars and with ISO spectra of well-studied massive YSOs (L ~ 105 L☉). The long-known 6.0 and 6.85 μm bands are detected toward all sources, with the Class 0-type YSOs showing the deepest bands ever observed. The 6.0 μm band is often deeper than expected from the bending mode of pure solid H2O. The additional 5-7 μm absorption consists of five independent components, which, by comparison to laboratory studies, must be from at least eight different carriers. Much of this absorption is due to simple species likely formed by grain surface chemistry, at abundances of 1%-30% for CH3OH, 3%-8% for NH3, 1%-5% for HCOOH, ~6% for H2CO, and ~0.3% for HCOO− relative to solid H2O. The 6.85 μm band has one or two carriers, of which one may be less volatile than H2O. Its carrier(s) formed early in the molecular cloud evolution and do not survive in the diffuse ISM. If an NH4+-containing salt is the carrier, its abundance relative to solid H2O is ~7%, demonstrating the efficiency of low-temperature acid-base chemistry or cosmic-ray-induced reactions. Possible origins are discussed for enigmatic, very broad absorption between 5 and 8 μm. Finally, the same ices are observed toward massive and low-mass YSOs, indicating that processing by internal UV radiation fields is a minor factor in their early chemical evolution.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 678(2):985. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a large-scale millimeter continuum map of the Ophiuchus molecular cloud. Nearly 11 deg2, including all of the area in the cloud with AV ≥ 3 mag, was mapped at 1.1 mm with Bolocam on the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO). By design, the map also covers the region mapped in the infrared with the Spitzer Space Telescope. We detect 44 definite sources, and a few likely sources are also seen along a filament in the eastern streamer. The map indicates that dense cores in Ophiuchus are very clustered and often found in filaments within the cloud. Most sources are round, as measured at the half-power point, but elongated when measured at lower contour levels, suggesting spherical sources lying within filaments. The masses, for an assumed dust temperature of 10 K, range from 0.24 to 3.9 M☉, with a mean value of 0.96 M☉. The total mass in distinct cores is 42 M☉, 0.5%-2% of the total cloud mass, and the total mass above 4 σ is about 80 M☉. The mean densities in the cores are quite high, with an average of 1.6 × 106 cm-3, suggesting short free-fall times. The core mass distribution can be fitted with a power law with slope α = 2.1 ± 0.3 for M > 0.5 M☉, similar to that found in other regions, but slightly shallower than that of some determinations of the local IMF. In agreement with previous studies, our survey shows that dense cores account for a very small fraction of the cloud volume and total mass. They are nearly all confined to regions with AV ≥ 9 mag, a lower threshold than found previously.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 644(1):326. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The quadruple young stellar system HD 98800 consists of two spectroscopic binary pairs with a circumbinary disk around the B component. Recent work by Boden and collaborators using infrared interferometry and radial velocity data resulted in a determination of the physical orbit for HD 98800B. We use the resulting inclination of the binary and the measured extinction toward the B component stars to constrain the distribution of circumbinary material. Although a standard optically and geometrically thick disk model can reproduce the spectral energy distribution, it cannot account for the observed extinction if the binary and the disk are coplanar. We next constructed a dynamical model to investigate the influence of the A component, which is not in the Ba-Bb orbital plane, on the B disk. We find that these interactions have a substantial impact on the inclination of the B circumbinary disk with respect to the Ba-Bb orbital plane. The resulting warp would be sufficient to place material into the line of sight and the noncoplanar disk orientation may also cause the upper layers of the disk to intersect the line of sight if the disk is geometrically thick. These simulations also support that the dynamics of the Ba-Bb orbit clear the inner region to a radius of ~3 AU. We then discuss whether the somewhat unusual properties of the HD 98800B disk are consistent with material remnant from the star formation process or with more recent creation by collisions from larger bodies.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 670(2):1240. · 6.73 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
601.42 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1984–2014
    • California Institute of Technology
      • • Department of Astronomy
      • • Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy
      • • Spitzer Science Center
      Pasadena, California, United States
  • 2008
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Astronomy
      Berkeley, California, United States
  • 2007
    • Northern Arizona University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Flagstaff, Arizona, United States
  • 2000
    • Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
      Jena, Thuringia, Germany
  • 1996
    • Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1986–1992
    • Cornell University
      Ithaca, New York, United States
  • 1987
    • Columbia University
      New York City, New York, United States