National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

A Fluffy Disk Around a Baby Star

| Science

An international team of astronomers that are members of the Strategic Exploration of Exoplanets and Disks with Subaru Telescope (SEEDS) Project has used Subaru Telescope’s High Contrast Instrument for the Subaru Next Generation Adaptive Optics (HiCIAO) to observe a disk around the young star RY Tau (Tauri). The team’s analysis of the disk shows that a “fluffy” layer above it is responsible for the scattered light observed in the infrared image. Detailed comparisons with computer simulations of scattered light from the disk reveal that this layer appears to be a remnant of material from an earlier phase of stellar and disk development, when dust and gas were falling onto the disk.

Figure 1
Artist’s rendition of the “fluffy” layer associated with the protoplanetary disk of RY Tau, including jets coming from the star. Although typical young stars like RY Tau are often associated with jets, they are not visible in the HiCIAO observations at this time. (Credit: NAOJ)

The scientific paper on which this article is based appears in the Astrophysical Journal.
(Takami, M. et al. August 2013, “High-Contrast Near-Infrared Imaging Polarimetry of the Protoplanetary Disk around RY Tau”, The Astrophysical Journal)