Locating the accretion footprint on a Herbig Ae star: MWC 480

C. A. Grady, K. Hamaguchi, G. Schneider, B. Stecklum, B. E. Woodgate, J. E. McCleary, G. M. Williger, M. L. Sitko, F. Ménard, Th Henning, S. Brittain, M. Troutmann, B. Donehew, D. Hines, J. P. Wisniewski, D. K. Lynch, R. W. Russell, R. J. Rudy, A. N. Day, A. ShenoyD. Wilner, M. Silverstone, J. C. Bouret, H. Meusinger, M. Clampin, S. Kim, R. Petre, M. Sahu, M. Endres, K. A. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Accretion is a fundamental process which establishes the dynamics of the protoplanetary disk and the final properties of the forming star. In solar-type stars, the star-disk coupling is determined by the magnetic field structure, which is responsible for funneling material from the disk midplane to higher latitudes on the star. Here, we use pan-chromatic data for the Herbig Ae star MWC 480 to address whether similar processes occur in intermediatemass stars. MWC 480 has X-ray emission typical of actively accreting Herbig Ae stars, but with ∼10× more photoelectric absorption than expected from optical and FUV data. We consider three sources for the absorption: the disk, absorption in a wind or jet, and accretion. While we detect the disk in scattered light in a re-analysis of archival Hubble Space Telescope data, the data are consistent with grazing illumination of the dust disk. We find that MWC 480's disk is stratified, geometrically thin, and is not responsible for the observed photoelectric absorption. MWC 480 drives a bipolar jet, but with a mass-loss rate that is low compared to other Herbig Ae stars, where the outflow is more favorably oriented and enhanced photoelectric absorption is not seen. This excludes a jet or wind origin for the enhanced photoelectric absorption. We compare MWC 480's O vi emission with other Herbig Ae stars. The distribution of the emission in inclination, and lack of a correlation of profile shape and system inclination excludes equatorially confined accretion for the FUSE Herbig Ae stars. The photoelectric absorption data further suggest that the accretion footprint on MWC 480 and other Herbig Ae stars is located at high-temperate, rather than polar, latitudes. These findings support the presence of funneled accretion in MWC 480 and Herbig Ae stars, strengthening the parallel to T Tauri stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1565-1581
Number of pages17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 20 2010


  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • Protoplanetary disks
  • Stars: individual (MWC 480)
  • Ultraviolet: stars
  • X-rays: stars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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