Discovery of small-scale spiral structures in the disk of SAO 206462 (HD135344B): Implications for the physical state of the disk from spiral density wave theory

T. Muto, C. A. Grady, J. Hashimoto, M. Fukagawa, J. B. Hornbeck, M. Sitko, R. Russell, C. Werren, M. Curé, T. Currie, N. Ohashi, Y. Okamoto, M. Momose, M. Honda, S. Inutsuka, T. Takeuchi, R. Dong, L. Abe, W. Brandner, T. BrandtJ. Carson, S. Egner, M. Feldt, T. Fukue, M. Goto, O. Guyon, Y. Hayano, M. Hayashi, S. Hayashi, T. Henning, K. W. Hodapp, M. Ishii, M. Iye, M. Janson, R. Kandori, G. R. Knapp, T. Kudo, N. Kusakabe, M. Kuzuhara, T. Matsuo, S. Mayama, M. W. McElwain, S. Miyama, J. I. Morino, A. Moro-Martin, T. Nishimura, T. S. Pyo, E. Serabyn, H. Suto, R. Suzuki, M. Takami, N. Takato, H. Terada, C. Thalmann, D. Tomono, E. L. Turner, M. Watanabe, J. P. Wisniewski, T. Yamada, H. Takami, T. Usuda, M. Tamura

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

293 Scopus citations


We present high-resolution, H-band imaging observations, collected with Subaru/HiCIAO, of the scattered light from the transitional disk around SAO 206462 (HD135344B). Although previous sub-mm imagery suggested the existence of a dust-depleted cavity at r ≤ 46 AU, our observations reveal the presence of scattered light components as close as 02 ( 28 AU) from the star. Moreover, we have discovered two small-scale spiral structures lying within 05 ( 70 AU). We present models for the spiral structures using the spiral density wave theory, and derive a disk aspect ratio of h 0.1, which is consistent with previous sub-mm observations. This model can potentially give estimates of the temperature and rotation profiles of the disk based on dynamical processes, independently from sub-mm observations. It also predicts the evolution of the spiral structures, which can be observable on timescales of 10-20 years, providing conclusive tests of the model. While we cannot uniquely identify the origin of these spirals, planets embedded in the disk may be capable of exciting the observed morphology. Assuming that this is the case, we can make predictions on the locations and, possibly, the masses of the unseen planets. Such planets may be detected by future multi-wavelength observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL22
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012


  • circumstellar matter
  • instrumentation: high angular resolution
  • polarization
  • protoplanetary disks
  • stars: individual (SAO 206462, HD 135344B)
  • waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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