High spatial resolution mid-infrared observations of the low-mass young star TW Hydrae*
Astrophysical Institute of Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
3 Sterrewacht Leiden, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Accepted: 24 April 2007
Aims.We want to improve knowledge of the structure of the inner few AU of the circumstellar disk around the nearby T Tauri star TW Hya. Earlier studies have suggested the existence of a large inner hole, possibly caused by interactions with a growing protoplanet.
Methods.We used interferometric observations in the N-band obtained with the MIDI instrument on the Very Large Telescope Interferometer, together with 10 μm spectra recorded by the infrared satellite Spitzer. The fact that we were able to determine N-band correlated fluxes and visibilities for this comparatively faint source shows that mid-infrared interferometry can be applied to a large number of low-mass young stellar objects.
Results.The mid-infrared spectra obtained with Spitzer reveal emission lines from H I (6–5), H I (7–6), and [Ne II] and show that over 90% of the dust we see in this wavelength regime is amorphous. According to the correlated flux measured with MIDI, most of the crystalline material is in the inner, unresolved part of the disk, about 1 AU in radius. The visibilities exclude the existence of a very large ( AU radius) inner hole in the circumstellar disk of TW Hya, which was required in earlier models. We propose instead a geometry of the inner disk where an inner hole still exists, but at a much reduced radius, with the transition from zero to full disk height between 0.5 and 0.8 AU, and with an optically thin distribution of dust inside. Such a model can comply with SED and mid-infrared visibilities, as well as with visibility and extended emission observed in the near-infrared at 2 μm. If a massive planet was the reason for this inner hole, as has been speculated, its orbit would have to be closer to the star than 0.3 AU. Alternatively, we may be witnessing the end of the accretion phase and an early phase of an inward-out dispersal of the circumstellar disk.
Key words: stars: individual: TW Hya / stars: circumstellar matter / stars: pre-main sequence / techniques: interferometric / infrared: stars
© ESO, 2007