Astrophys. J., 747, 103 (2012/March-2)
On the transitional disk class: linking observations of T Tauri stars and physical disk models.
ESPAILLAT C., INGLEBY L., HERNANDEZ J., FURLAN E., D'ALESSIO P., CALVET N., ANDREWS S., MUZEROLLE J., QI C. and WILNER D.
Abstract (from CDS):
Two decades ago "transitional disks" (TDs) described spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of T Tauri stars with small near-IR excesses, but significant mid- and far-IR excesses. Many inferred this indicated dust-free holes in disks possibly cleared by planets. Recently, this term has been applied disparately to objects whose Spitzer SEDs diverge from the expectations for a typical full disk (FD). Here, we use irradiated accretion disk models to fit the SEDs of 15 such disks in NGC 2068 and IC 348. One group has a "dip" in infrared emission while the others' continuum emission decreases steadily at all wavelengths. We find that the former have an inner disk hole or gap at intermediate radii in the disk and we call these objects "transitional disks" and "pre-transitional disks" (PTDs), respectively. For the latter group, we can fit these SEDs with FD models and find that millimeter data are necessary to break the degeneracy between dust settling and disk mass. We suggest that the term "transitional" only be applied to objects that display evidence for a radical change in the disk's radial structure. Using this definition, we find that TDs and PTDs tend to have lower mass accretion rates than FDs and that TDs have lower accretion rates than PTDs. These reduced accretion rates onto the star could be linked to forming planets. Future observations of TDs and PTDs will allow us to better quantify the signatures of planet formation in young disks.
accretion, accretion disks - circumstellar matter - protoplanetary disks - stars: formation - stars: pre-main sequence
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