Emission lines from the gas disk around TW hydra and the origin of the inner hole

U. Gorti, D. Hollenbach, J. Najita, I. Pascucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


We compare line emission calculated from theoretical disk models with optical to submillimeter wavelength observational data of the gas disk surrounding TWHya and infer the spatial distribution of mass in the gas disk. The model disk that best matches observations has a gas mass ranging from 10-4 to 10-5 M for 0.06 AU < r < 3.5AU and 0.06 M for 3.5 AU < r < 200AU. We find that the inner dust hole (r < 3.5AU) in the disk must be depleted of gas by 1-2 orders of magnitude compared with the extrapolated surface density distribution of the outer disk. Grain growth alone is therefore not a viable explanation for the dust hole. CO vibrational emission arises within r 0.5AU from thermal excitation of gas. [O I] 6300 and 5577 forbidden lines and OH mid-infrared emission are mainly due to prompt emission following UV photodissociation of OH and water at r ≲ 0.1AU and at r 4AU. [Ne II] emission is consistent with an origin in X-ray heated neutral gas at r ≲ 10AU, and may not require the presence of a significant extreme-ultraviolet (hν > 13.6eV) flux from TWHya. H2 pure rotational line emission comes primarily from r 1 to 30AU. [O I] 63 μm, HCO+, and CO pure rotational lines all arise from the outer disk at r 30-120AU. We discuss planet formation and photoevaporation as causes for the decrease in surface density of gas and dust inside 4AU. If a planet is present, our results suggest a planet mass 4-7 MJ situated at 3AU. Using our photoevaporation models and the best surface density profile match to observations, we estimate a current photoevaporative mass loss rate of 4 × 10-9 M yr-1 and a remaining disk lifetime of 5 million years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number90
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 10 2011


  • astrochemistry
  • line: formation
  • planet-disk interactions
  • protoplanetary disks
  • stars: individual (TW Hya)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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