Ism dust grains and N-band spectral variability in the spatially resolved subarcsecond binary UY aur

Andrew J. Skemer, Laird M. Close, Philip M. Hinz, William F. Hoffmann, Thomas P. Greene, Jared R. Males, Tracy L. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The 10 μm silicate feature is an essential diagnostic of dust-grain growth and planet formation in young circumstellar disks. The Spitzer Space Telescope has revolutionized the study of this feature, but due to its small (85 cm) aperture, it cannot spatially resolve small/medium-separation binaries (≲3″; ≲ 420 AU) at the distances of the nearest star-forming regions (140 pc). Large, 6-10 m ground-based telescopes with mid-infrared instruments can resolve these systems. In this paper, we spatially resolve the 088 binary, UY Aur, with MMTAO/BLINC-MIRAC4 mid-infrared spectroscopy. We then compare our spectra to Spitzer/IRS (unresolved) spectroscopy, and resolved images from IRTF/MIRAC2, Keck/OSCIR, and Gemini/Michelle, which were taken over the past decade. We find that UY Aur A has extremely pristine, interstellar medium (ISM)-like grains and that UY Aur B has an unusually shaped silicate feature, which is probably the result of blended emission and absorption from foreground extinction in its disk. We also find evidence for variability in both UY Aur A and UY Aur B by comparing synthetic photometry from our spectra with resolved imaging from previous epochs. The photometric variability of UY Aur A could be an indication that the silicate emission itself is variable, as was recently found in EX Lupi. Otherwise, the thermal continuum is variable, and either the ISM-like dust has never evolved, or it is being replenished, perhaps by UY Aur's circumbinary disk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1280-1290
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Binaries: close
  • Circumstellar matter
  • Dust, extinction
  • Infrared: stars
  • Instrumentation: adaptive optics
  • Stars: pre-main sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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