Volume 632, December 2019
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||10 December 2019|
Letter to the Editor
The dry and carbon-poor inner disk of TW Hydrae: evidence for a massive icy dust trap
Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
2 Department of Physics, Texas State University, 749 N Comanche Street, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA
Accepted: 22 November 2019
Context. Gas giants accrete their envelopes from the gas and dust of proto-planetary disks, and therefore it is important to determine the composition of the inner few astronomical units, where most giant planets are expected to form.
Aims. We aim to constrain the elemental carbon and oxygen abundance in the inner disk (R < 2.3 AU) of TW Hya and compare with the outer disk (R > 2.3 AU) where carbon and oxygen appear underabundant by a factor of approximately 50.
Methods. Archival Spitzer-IRS and VLT-CRIRES observations of TW Hya were compared with a detailed thermo-chemical model, DALI. The inner disk gas mass and elemental C and O abundances were varied to fit the mid-infrared H2 and H2O line fluxes as well as the near-infrared CO line flux.
Results. Best-fitting models have an inner disk that has a gas mass of 2 × 10−4 M⊙ with C/H ≈ 3 × 10−6 and O/H ≈ 6 × 10−6. The elemental oxygen and carbon abundances of the inner disk are about 50 times lower than in the interstellar medium and are consistent with those found in the outer disk.
Conclusions. The uniformly low volatile abundances imply that the inner disk is not enriched by ices on drifting bodies that evaporate. This indicates that drifting grains are stopped in a dust trap outside the water ice line. Such a dust trap would also form a cavity as seen in high-resolution submillimeter continuum observations. If CO is the major carbon carrier in the ices, dust needs to be trapped efficiently outside the CO ice line of ∼20 AU. This would imply that the shallow submillimeter rings in the TW Hya disk outside of 20 AU correspond to very efficient dust traps. The most likely scenario is that more than 98% of the CO has been converted into less volatile species, for example CO2 and CH3OH. A giant planet forming in the inner disk would be accreting gas with low carbon and oxygen abundances as well as very little icy dust, potentially leading to a planet atmosphere with strongly substellar C/H and O/H ratios.
Key words: protoplanetary disks / line: formation / astrochemistry / stars: individual: TW Hya
© ESO 2019
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