The evolution of protoplanetary disks from their taxonomy in scattered light: Group I vs Group II [EPA]

High-resolution imaging reveals a large morphological variety of protoplanetary disks. To date, no constraints on their global evolution have been found from this census. An evolutionary classification of disks was proposed based on their IR spectral energy distribution, with the Group I sources showing a prominent cold component ascribed to an earlier stage of evolution than Group II. Disk evolution can be constrained from the comparison of disks with different properties. A first attempt of disk taxonomy is now possible thanks to the increasing number of high-resolution images of Herbig Ae/Be stars becoming available. Near-IR images of six Group II disks in scattered light were obtained with VLT/NACO in Polarimetric Differential Imaging, which is the most efficient technique to image the light scattered by the disk material close to the stars. We compare the stellar/disk properties of this sample with those of well-studied Group I sources available from the literature. Three Group II disks are detected. The brightness distribution in the disk of HD163296 indicates the presence of a persistent ring-like structure with a possible connection with the CO snowline. A rather compact (less than 100 AU) disk is detected around HD142666 and AK Sco. A taxonomic analysis of 17 Herbig Ae/Be sources reveals that the difference between Group I and Group II is due to the presence or absence of a large disk cavity (larger than 5 AU). There is no evidence supporting the evolution from Group I to Group II. Group II are not evolved version of the Group I. Within the Group II disks, very different geometries (both self-shadowed and compact) exist. HD163296 could be the primordial version of a typical Group I. Other Group II, like AK Sco and HD142666, could be smaller counterpart of Group I unable to open cavities as large as those of Group I.

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Garufi, G. Meeus, M. Benisty, et. al.
Tue, 7 Mar 17

Comments: 16 pages, 7 figures, accepted for publication by A&A