EXPOSING THE GAS BRAKING MECHANISM OF THE beta PICTORIS DISK
2011 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal, ISSN 0004-637X, E-ISSN 1538-4357, Vol. 729, no 2, 122- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Ever since the discovery of the edge-on circumstellar (CS) disk around beta Pictoris, a standing question has been why the gas observed against the star in absorption is not rapidly expelled by the strong radiation pressure from the star. A solution to the puzzle has been suggested to be that the neutral elements that experience the radiation force also are rapidly ionized, and so are only able to accelerate to an average limiting velocity v(ion). Once ionized, the elements are rapidly braked by C II, which is observed to be at least 20x overabundant in the disk with respect to other species. A prediction from this scenario is that different neutral elements should reach different vion, depending on the ionization thresholds and strengths of driving line transitions. In particular, neutral Fe and Na are predicted to reach the radial velocities 0.5 and 3.3 km s(-1), respectively, before being ionized. In this paper, we study the absorption profiles of Fe and Na from the CS gas disk around beta Pic, as obtained by HARPS at the ESO 3.6 m telescope. We find that the Fe and Na velocity profiles are indeed shifted with respect to each other, confirming the model. The absence of an extended blue wing in the profile of Na, however, indicates that there must be some additional braking on the neutrals. We explore the possibility that the ion gas (dominated by C II) can brake the neutrals and conclude that about 2-5x more C than previously estimated is needed for the predicted line profile to be consistent with the observed one.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 729, no 2, 122- p.
circumstellar matter, protoplanetary disks, stars: formation, stars: individual (beta Pictoris)
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-69417DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/729/2/122ISI: 000288608700045OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-69417DiVA: diva2:478381
authorCount :12012-01-162012-01-122012-01-16Bibliographically approved