Planetary Signatures in the SAO 206462 (HD 135344B) Disk: A Spiral Arm Passing Through Vortex? [EPA]

The disk surrounding SAO 206462, a 8 Myr-old Herbig Ae star, has been recently reported to exhibit spiral arms, an asymmetric dust continuum, and a dust-depleted inner cavity. By carrying out two-dimensional, two-fluid hydrodynamic calculations we find that a planetary-mass companion located at the outer disk could be responsible for these observed structures. In this model, the planet excites primary and secondary arms interior to its orbit. It also carves a gap and generates a local pressure bump at the inner gap edge where a vortex forms through Rossby wave instability. The vortex traps radially drifting dust particles, forming a dust-depleted cavity in the inner disk. We propose that the vortex is responsible for the brightest southwestern peak seen in infrared scattered light and sub-mm dust continuum emission. In particular, it is possible that the scattered light is boosted as one of the spiral arms passes through the high density vortex region, although the vortex alone may be able to explain the peak. We suggest that a planetary companion with mass of 10-15 M_J is orbiting SAO 206462 at 100-120 AU. Monitoring of the brightest peak over the next few years will help reveal its origin as spiral arms and vortex will show distinguishable displacement.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Bae, Z. Zhu and L. Hartmann
Wed, 20 Jan 16

Comments: Accepted to The Astrophysical Journal. 8 pages, 7 figures, 1 table