Mid-infrared spectroscopy of SVS13: Silicates, quartz and SiC in a protoplanetary disc [SSA]


We present $N$-band (8$-$13 $\mu$m) spectroscopic observations of the low-mass, embedded pre-main-sequence close binary system SVS13. Absorption features are clearly detected which are attributable to amorphous silicates, crystalline forsterite, crystalline enstatite and annealed SiO$_{2}$. Most intriguingly, a major component of the dust in the envelope or disc around SVS13 appears to be SiC, required to model adequately both the total intensity and polarisation spectra. Silicon carbide is a species previously detected only in the spectra of C-rich evolved star atmospheres, wherein it is a dust condensate. It has not been unambiguously identified in the interstellar medium, and never before in a molecular cloud, let alone in close proximity to a forming star. Yet pre-Solar grains of SiC have been identified in meteorites, possibly suggesting an interesting parallel between SVS13 and our own Solar-System evolution. The uniqueness of the spectrum suggests that we are either catching SVS13 in a short-lived evolutionary phase and/or that there is something special about SVS13 itself that makes it rare amongst young stars. We speculate on the physical origin of the respective dust species and why they are all simultaneously present toward SVS13. Two scenarios are presented: a disc-instability-induced fragmentation, with subsequent localised heating and orbital evolution firstly annealing initially amorphous silicates and then dispersing their crystalline products throughout a circumstellar disc; and a newly discovered shock-heating mechanism at the interface between the circumstellar and circumbinary discs providing the crystallisation process. One or both of these mechanisms acting on carbon-rich grain material can also feasibly produce the SiC signature.

Read this paper on arXiv…

T. Fujiyoshi, C. Wright and T. Moore
Fri, 22 May 15

Comments: 15 pages, 6 figures, to be published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society