Astrophys. J., 881, 127-127 (2019/August-3)
Probing the gas content of late-stage protoplanetary disks with N2H+.
ANDERSON D.E., BLAKE G.A., BERGIN E.A., ZHANG K., CARPENTER J.M., SCHWARZ K.R., HUANG J. and OBERG K.I.
Abstract (from CDS):
The lifetime of gas in circumstellar disks is a fundamental quantity that informs our understanding of planet formation. Studying disk gas evolution requires measurements of disk masses around stars of various ages. Because H2 gas is unobservable under most disk conditions, total disk masses are based on indirect tracers such as sub-mm dust and CO emission. The uncertainty in the relation between these tracers and the disk mass increases as the disk evolves. In a few well-studied disks, CO exhibits depletions of up to 100x below the assumed interstellar value. Thus, additional tracers are required to accurately determine the total gas mass. The relative lack of nitrogen found in solid solar system bodies may indicate that it persists in volatile form, making nitrogen-bearing species more robust tracers of gas in more evolved disks. Here we present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array detections of N2H+ in two mature, ∼5-11 Myr old disks in the Upper Scorpius OB Association. Such detections imply the presence of H2-rich gas and sources of ionization, both required for N2H+ formation. The Upper Sco disks also show elevated N2H+/CO flux ratios when compared to previously observed disks with >=10x higher CO fluxes. Based on line ratio predictions from a grid of thermochemical disk models, a significantly reduced CO/H2 abundance of <10–6 for a gas-to-dust ratio of >=100 is required to produce the observed N2H+ fluxes. These systems appear to maintain H2 gas reservoirs and indicate that carbon- and nitrogen-bearing species follow distinct physical or chemical pathways as disks evolve.
© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
astrochemistry - molecular data - protoplanetary disks
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