A Layered Debris Disk around M Star TWA 7 in Scattered Light

Bin Ren, Elodie Choquet, Marshall D. Perrin, Dimitri Mawet, Christine H. Chen, Julien Milli, John H. Debes, Isabel Rebollido, Christopher C. Stark, J. Brendan Hagan, Dean C. Hines, Maxwell A. Millar-Blanchaer, Laurent Pueyo, Aki Roberge, Glenn Schneider, Eugene Serabyn, Rémi Soummer, Schuyler G. Wolff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We have obtained Hubble Space Telescope (HST) coronagraphic observations of the circumstellar disk around M star TWA 7 using the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) instrument in visible light. Together with archival observations, including HST/NICMOS using the F160W filter and Very Large Telescope/SPHERE at the H-band in polarized light, we investigate the system in scattered light. By studying this nearly face-on system using geometric disk models and Henyey-Greenstein phase functions, we report a new discovery of a tertiary ring and a clump. We identify a layered architecture: three rings, a spiral, and an ≈150 au2 elliptical clump. The most extended ring peaks at 28 au, and the other components are on its outskirts. Our point-source detection-limit calculations demonstrate the necessity of disk modeling in imaging fainter planets. Morphologically, we witness a clockwise spiral motion, and the motion pattern is consistent with both solid body motion and local Keplerian motion; we also observe underdensity regions for the secondary ring that might result from mean-motion resonance or moving shadows: both call for re-observations to determine their nature. Comparing multi-instrument observations, we obtain blue STIS-NICMOS color, a STIS-SPHERE radial distribution peak difference for the tertiary ring, and a high SPHERE-NICMOS polarization fraction; these aspects indicate that TWA 7 could retain small dust particles. By viewing the debris disk around M star TWA 7 at a nearly face-on vantage point, our study allows for the understanding of such disks in scattered light in both system architecture and dust property.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number95
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 20 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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