Volume 601, May 2017
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||26 April 2017|
Thermochemical modelling of brown dwarf discs
1 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, Postbus 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
2 SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
3 Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 94249, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4 SUPA, School of Physics & Astronomy, University of St. Andrews, North Haugh, St. Andrews KY16 9SS, UK
5 Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Gieenbachstrae 1, 85741 Garching, Germany
6 University of Vienna, Department of Astrophysics, Türkenschanzstrasse 17, 1180 Vienna, Austria
7 INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, via della Scienza 5, 09047 Selargius, Italy
Received: 24 July 2016
Accepted: 14 February 2017
The physical properties of brown dwarf discs, in terms of their shapes and sizes, are still largely unexplored by observations. ALMA has by far the best capabilities to observe these discs in sub-mm CO lines and dust continuum, while also spatially resolving some discs. To what extent brown dwarf discs are similar to scaled-down T Tauri discs is currently unknown, and this work is a step towards establishing a relationship through the eventual modelling of future observations. We use observations of the brown dwarf disc ρ Oph 102 to infer a fiducial model around which we build a small grid of brown dwarf disc models, in order to model the CO, HCN, and HCO+ line fluxes and the chemistry which drives their abundances. These are the first brown dwarf models to be published which relate detailed, 2D radiation thermochemical disc models to observational data. We predict that moderately extended ALMA antenna configurations will spatially resolve CO line emission around brown dwarf discs, and that HCN and HCO+ will be detectable in integrated flux, following our conclusion that the flux ratios of these molecules to CO emission are comparable to that of T Tauri discs. These molecules have not yet been observed in sub-mm wavelengths in a brown dwarf disc, yet they are crucial tracers of the warm surface-layer gas and of ionization in the outer parts of the disc. We present the prediction that if the physical and chemical processes in brown dwarf discs are similar to those that occur in T Tauri discs – as our models suggest – then the same diagnostics that are used for T Tauri discs can be used for brown dwarf discs (such as HCN and HCO+ lines that have not yet been observed in the sub-mm), and that these lines should be observable with ALMA. Through future observations, either confirmation (or refutation) of these ideas about brown dwarf disc chemistry will have strong implications for our understanding of disc chemistry, structure, and subsequent planet formation in brown dwarf discs.
Key words: protoplanetary disks / astrochemistry / brown dwarfs / circumstellar matter / line: formation
© ESO, 2017
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