A Spitzer IRS study of infrared variability in transitional and pre-transitional disks around T Tauri stars.
ESPAILLAT C., FURLAN E., D'ALESSIO P., SARGENT B., NAGEL E., CALVET N., WATSON D.M. and MUZEROLLE J.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present a Spitzer IRS study of variability in 14 T Tauri stars in the Taurus and Chamaeleon star-forming regions. The sample is composed of transitional and pre-transitional objects which contain holes and gaps in their disks. We detect variability between 5 and 38 µm in all but two of our objects on timescales of 2-3 years. Most of the variability observed can be classified as seesaw behavior, whereby the emission at shorter wavelengths varies inversely with the emission at longer wavelengths. For many of the objects we can reasonably reproduce the observed variability using irradiated disk models, particularly by changing the height of the inner disk wall by ∼20%. When the inner wall is taller, the emission at the shorter wavelengths is higher since the inner wall dominates the emission at 2-8 µm. The taller inner wall casts a larger shadow on the outer disk wall, leading to less emission at wavelengths beyond 20 µm where the outer wall dominates. We discuss how the possible presence of planets in these disks could lead to warps that cause changes in the height of the inner wall. We also find that crystalline silicates are common in the outer disks of our objects and that in the four disks in the sample with the most crystalline silicates, variability on timescales of 1 week is present. In addition to explaining the infrared variability described above, planets can create shocks and collisions which can crystallize the dust and lead to short timescale variability.