Observations and modeling of the inner disk region of T Tauri stars

R. L. Akeson, C. H. Walker, K. Wood, J. A. Eisner, E. Scire, B. Penprase, D. R. Ciardi, G. T. Van Belle, B. Whitney, J. E. Bjorkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


We present observations of four T Tauri stars using long baseline infrared interferometry from the Palomar Testbed Interferometer. The target sources, T Tau N, SU Aur, RY Tau, and DR Tau, are all known to be surrounded by dusty circumstellar disks. The observations directly trace the inner regions (<1 AU) of the disk and can be used to constrain the physical properties of this material. For three of the sources observed, the infrared emission is clearly resolved. We first use geometric models to characterize the emission region size, which ranges from 0.04 to 0.3 AU in radius. We then use Monte Carlo radiation transfer models of accretion disks to jointly model the spectral energy distribution and the interferometric observations with disk models including accretion and scattering. With these models, we are able to reproduce the data set with extended emission arising from structures larger than 10 mas contributing less than 6% of the K-band emission, consistent with little or no envelope remaining for these class II sources [d log (λF λ)/d log λ ≈ -2-0 in the infrared]. The radiation transfer models have inner radii for the dust similar to the geometric models; however, for RY Tau, emission from gas within the inner dust radius contributes significantly to the model flux and visibility at infrared wavelengths. The main conclusion of our modeling is that emission from inner gas disks (between the magnetic truncation radius and the dust destruction radius) can be a significant component in the inner disk flux for sources with large inner dust radii.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-450
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Mar 20 2005


  • Circumstellar matter
  • Infrared: stars
  • Planetary systems: protoplanetary disks
  • Techniques: high angular resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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