The circumstellar disk of AB Aurigae: evidence for envelope accretion at late stages of star formation? ⋆,⋆⋆
Université de Bordeaux, Observatoire Aquitain des Sciences de
l’Univers, 2 rue de
2 CNRS, UMR 5804, Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, 2 rue de l’Observatoire, BP 89, 33271 Floirac Cedex, France
3 Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, R.O.C
4 IRAM, 300 rue de la piscine, 38406 Saint Martin d’Hères Cedex, France
5 Subaru Telescope, 650 North A’ohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
6 Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Received: 13 April 2012
Accepted: 4 September 2012
Aims. The circumstellar disk of AB Aurigae has garnered strong attention owing to the apparent existence of spirals at a relatively young stage and also the asymmetric disk traced in thermal dust emission. However, the physical conditions of the spirals are still not well understood. The origin of the asymmetric thermal emission is unclear.
Methods. We observed the disk at 230 GHz (1.3 mm) in both the continuum and the spectral line 12CO J = 2 → 1 with IRAM 30-m, the Plateau de Bure interferometer, and the SubMillimeter Array to sample all spatial scales from 037 to about 50′′. To combine the data obtained from these telescopes, several methods and calibration issues were checked and discussed.
Results. The 1.3 mm continuum (dust) emission is resolved into inner disk and outer ring. The emission from the dust ring is highly asymmetric in azimuth, with intensity variations by a factor 3. Molecular gas at high velocities traced by the CO line is detected next to the stellar location. The inclination angle of the disk is found to decrease toward the center. On a larger scale, based on the intensity weighted dispersion and the integrated intensity map of 12CO J = 2 → 1, four spirals are identified, where two of them are also detected in the near infrared. The total gas mass of the 4 spirals (Mspiral) is 10-7 < Mspiral < 10-5M⊙, which is 3 orders of magnitude smaller than the mass of the gas ring. Surprisingly, the CO gas inside the spiral is apparently counter-rotating with respect to the CO disk, and it only exhibits small radial motion.
Conclusions. The wide gap, the warped disk, and the asymmetric dust ring suggest that there is an undetected companion with a mass of 0.03 M⊙ at a radius of 45 AU. The different spirals would, however, require multiple perturbing bodies. While viable from an energetic point of view, this mechanism cannot explain the apparent counter-rotation of the gas in the spirals. Although an hypothetical fly-by cannot be ruled out, the most likely explanation of the AB Aurigae system may be inhomogeneous accretion well above or below the main disk plane from the remnant envelope, which can explain both the rotation and large-scale motions detected with the 30-m image.
Key words: protoplanetary disks / stars: formation / stars: individual: AB Aurigae / planet-disk interactions
Based on observations carried out with the IRAM 30-m telescope and Plateau de Bure interferometer. IRAM is supported by INSU/CNRS (France), MPG (Germany), and IGN (Spain).
© ESO, 2012