JWST Imaging of Edge-on Protoplanetary Disks. I. Fully Vertically Mixed 10 μm Grains in the Outer Regions of a 1000 au Disk

Gaspard Duchêne, François Ménard, Karl R. Stapelfeldt, Marion Villenave, Schuyler G. Wolff, Marshall D. Perrin, Christophe Pinte, Ryo Tazaki, Deborah L. Padgett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Scattered light imaging of protoplanetary disks provides key insights on the geometry and dust properties in the disk surface. Here, we present James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) 2-21 μm images of a 1000 au radius edge-on protoplanetary disk surrounding an 0.4 M young star in Taurus, Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) J04202144 + 2813491. These observations represent the longest wavelengths at which a protoplanetary disk is spatially resolved in scattered light. We combine these observations with Hubble Space Telescope optical images and Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array continuum and CO mapping. We find that the changes in the scattered light disk morphology are remarkably small across a factor of 30 in wavelength, indicating that dust in the disk surface layers is characterized by an almost gray opacity law. Using radiative transfer models, we conclude that grains up to ≳10 μm in size are fully coupled to the gas in this system, whereas grains ≳100 μm are strongly settled toward the midplane. Further analyses of these observations, and similar ones of other edge-on disks, will provide strong empirical constraints on disk dynamics and evolution and grain growth models. In addition, the 7.7 and 12. μm JWST images reveal an X-shaped feature located above the warm molecular layer traced by CO line emission. The highest elevations at which this feature is detectable roughly match the maximal extent of the disk in visible wavelength scattered light as well as of an unusual kinematic signature in CO. We propose that these phenomena could be related to a disk wind entraining small dust grains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number77
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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