The unusual protoplanetary disk around the T Tauri star ET Cha

Source: arXiv


We present new continuum and line observations, along with modelling, of the
faint (6-8) Myr old T Tauri star ET Cha belonging to the eta Chamaeleontis
cluster. We have acquired HERSCHEL/PACS photometric fluxes at 70 mic and 160
mic, as well as a detection of the [OI] 63 mic fine-structure line in emission,
and derived upper limits for some other far-IR OI, CII, CO and o-H2O lines. The
HERSCHEL data is complemented by new ANDICAM B-K photometry, new HST/COS and
HST/STIS UV-observations, a non-detection of CO J=3-2 with APEX, re-analysis of
a UCLES high-resolution optical spectrum showing forbidden emission lines like
[OI] 6300A, [SII] 6731A and 6716A, and [NII] 6583A, and a compilation of
existing broad-band photometric data. We used the thermo-chemical disk code
ProDiMo and the Monte-Carlo radiative transfer code MCFOST to model the
protoplanetary disk around ET Cha. Based on these models we can determine the
disk dust mass Mdust = (2.E-8 - 5.E-8) Msun, whereas the total disk gas mass is
found to be only little constrained, Mgas = (5.E-5 - 3.E-3) Msun. In the
models, the disk extends from 0.022 AU (just outside of the co-rotation radius)
to only about 10 AU. Larger disks are found to be inconsistent with the CO
J=3-2 non-detection. The low velocity component of the [OI] 6300A emission line
is consistent with being emitted from the inner disk. The model can also
reproduce the line flux of H2 v=1-0 S(1) at 2.122 mic. An additional
high-velocity component of the [OI] 6300A emission line, however, points to the
existence of an additional jet/outflow of low velocity (40 - 65) km/s with mass
loss rate ~1.E-9 Msun/yr. In relation to our low estimations of the disk mass,
such a mass loss rate suggests a disk lifetime of only ~(0.05 - 3) Myr,
substantially shorter than the cluster age. The evolutionary state of this
unusual protoplanetary disk is discussed.

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    ABSTRACT: We discuss the chemical pre-conditions for planet formation, in terms of gas and ice abundances in a protoplanetary disk, as function of time and position, and the resulting chemical composition and cloud properties in the atmosphere when young gas giant planets form. Large deviations between the abundances of the host star and its gas giants seem likely to occur if the planet formation follows the core-accretion scenario. These deviations stem from the separate evolution of gas and dust in the disk, where the dust forms the planet cores, followed by the final run-away accretion of the left-over gas. ProDiMo protoplanetary disk models are used to predict the chemical evolution of gas and ice in the midplane. We find that cosmic rays play a crucial role in slowly un-blocking the CO, where the liberated oxygen forms water, which then freezes out quickly. Therefore, the C/O ratio in the gas phase is found to gradually increase with time, in a region bracketed by the water and CO ice-lines. In this regions, C/O is found to approach unity after about 5 Myrs, scaling with the cosmic ray ionisation rate. We then explore how the atmospheric chemistry and cloud properties in young gas giants are affected when the non-solar C/O ratios predicted by the disk models are assumed. The DRIFT cloud formation model is applied to study the formation of atmospheric clouds under the influence of varying primordial element abundances and its feedback onto the local gas. We demonstrate that element depletion by cloud formation plays a crucial role in converting an oxygen-rich atmosphere gas into carbon-rich gas when non-solar, primordial element abundances are considered as suggested by disk model.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014