3 years ago

Multiple spiral arms in the disk around intermediate-mass binary HD 34700A.

John D. Monnier, Tim J. Harries, Jaehan Bae, Benjamin R. Setterholm, Anna Laws, Alicia Aarnio, Fred C. Adams, Sean Andrews, Nuria Calvet, Catherine Espaillat, Lee Hartmann, Stefan Kraus, Melissa Mcclure, Chris Miller, Rebecca Oppenheimer, David Wilner, Zhaohuan Zhu

We present the first images of the transition disk around the close binary system HD 34700A in polarized scattered light using the Gemini Planet Imager instrument on Gemini South. The J and H band images reveal multiple spiral-arm structures outside a large (R = 0.49" = 175 au) cavity along with a bluish spiral structure inside the cavity. The cavity wall shows a strong discontinuity and we clearly see significant non-azimuthal polarization Uphi consistent with multiple scattering within a disk at an inferred inclination ~42deg. Radiative transfer modeling along with a new Gaia distance suggest HD 37400A is a young (~5 Myr) system consisting of two intermediate-mass (~2Msun) stars surrounded by a transitional disk and not a solar-mass binary with a debris disk as previously classified. Conventional assumptions of the dust-to-gas ratio would rule out a gravitational instability origin to the spirals while hydrodynamical models using the known external companion or a hypothetical massive protoplanet in the cavity both have trouble reproducing the relatively large spiral arm pitch angles (~30deg) without fine tuning of gas temperature. We explore the possibility that material surrounding a massive protoplanet could explain the rim discontinuity after also considering effects of shadowing by an inner disk. Analysis of archival Hubble Space Telescope data suggests the disk is rotating counterclockwise as expected from the spiral arm structure and revealed a new low-mass companion at 6.45" separation. We include an appendix which sets out clear definitions of Q, U, Qphi, Uphi, correcting some confusion and errors in the literature.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1901.02467

DOI: arXiv:1901.02467v1

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