127 research outputs found

    Demographics of Transition Objects

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    The unusual properties of transition objects (young stars with an optically thin inner disc surrounded by an optically thick outer disc) suggest that significant disc evolution has occured in these systems. We explore the nature of these systems by examining their demographics, specifically their stellar accretion rates (Mdot) and disc masses (Mdisc) compared to those of accreting T Tauri stars of comparable age. We find that transition objects in Taurus occupy a restricted region of the Mdot vs. Mdisc plane. Compared to non-transition single stars in Taurus, they have stellar accretion rates that are typically ~10 times lower at the same disc mass and median disc masses ~4 times larger. These properties are anticipated by several proposed planet formation theories and suggest that the formation of Jovian mass planets may play a significant role in explaining the origin of at least some transition objects. Considering transition objects as a distinct demographic group among accreting T Tauri stars leads to a tighter relationship between disc masses and stellar accretion rates, with a slope between the two quantities that is close to the value of unity expected in simple theories of disc accretion.Comment: 11 pages, 4 figures, to appear in MNRA

    The Formation of Brown Dwarfs: Observations

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    We review the current state of observational work on the formation of brown dwarfs, focusing on their initial mass function, velocity and spatial distributions at birth, multiplicity, accretion, and circumstellar disks. The available measurements of these various properties are consistent with a common formation mechanism for brown dwarfs and stars. In particular, the existence of widely separated binary brown dwarfs and a probable isolated proto-brown dwarf indicate that some substellar objects are able to form in the same manner as stars through unperturbed cloud fragmentation. Additional mechanisms such as ejection and photoevaporation may play a role in the birth of some brown dwarfs, but there is no observational evidence to date to suggest that they are the key elements that make it possible for substellar bodies to form.Comment: Protostars and Planets V, in pres

    HD 101088, An Accreting 14 AU Binary in Lower Centaurus Crux With Very Little Circumstellar Dust

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    We present high resolution (R=55,000) optical spectra obtained with MIKE on the 6.5 m Magellan Clay Telescope as well as Spitzer MIPS photometry and IRS low resolution (R~60) spectroscopy of the close (14 AU separation) binary, HD 101088, a member of the ~12 Myr old southern region of the Lower Centaurus Crux (LCC) subgroup of the Scorpius-Centaurus OB association. We find that the primary and/or secondary is accreting from a tenuous circumprimary and/or circumsecondary disk despite the apparent lack of a massive circumbinary disk. We estimate a lower limit to the accretion rate of > 1x10^-9 solar masses per year, which our multiple observation epochs show varies over a timescale of months. The upper limit on the 70 micron flux allows us to place an upper limit on the mass of dust grains smaller than several microns present in a circumbinary disk of 0.16 moon masses. We conclude that the classification of disks into either protoplanetary or debris disks based on fractional infrared luminosity alone may be misleading.Comment: 8 pages, 2 figures, ApJ accepte

    The Highly Dynamic Behavior of the Innermost Dust and Gas in the Transition Disk Variable LRLL 31

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    We describe extensive synoptic multi-wavelength observations of the transition disk LRLL 31 in the young cluster IC 348. We combined four epochs of IRS spectra, nine epochs of MIPS photometry, seven epochs of cold-mission IRAC photometry and 36 epochs of warm mission IRAC photometry along with multi-epoch near-infrared spectra, optical spectra and polarimetry to explore the nature of the rapid variability of this object. We find that the inner disk, as traced by the 2-5micron excess stays at the dust sublimation radius while the strength of the excess changes by a factor of 8 on weekly timescales, and the 3.6 and 4.5micron photometry shows a drop of 0.35 magnitudes in one week followed by a slow 0.5 magnitude increase over the next three weeks. The accretion rate, as measured by PaBeta and BrGamma emission lines, varies by a factor of five with evidence for a correlation between the accretion rate and the infrared excess. While the gas and dust in the inner disk are fluctuating the central star stays relatively static. Our observations allow us to put constraints on the physical mechanism responsible for the variability. The variabile accretion, and wind, are unlikely to be causes of the variability, but both are effects of the same physical process that disturbs the disk. The lack of periodicity in our infrared monitoring indicates that it is unlikely that there is a companion within ~0.4 AU that is perturbing the disk. The most likely explanation is either a companion beyond ~0.4 AU or a dynamic interface between the stellar magnetic field and the disk leading to a variable scale height and/or warping of the inner disk.Comment: Accepted to ApJ. 10 pages of text, plus 11 tables and 13 figures at the en