Variability of disk emission in pre-main sequence and related stars. II. Variability in the gas and dust emission of the Herbig Fe star Sao 206462

Michael L. Sitko, Amanda N. Day, Robin L. Kimes, Lori C. Beerman, Cameron Martus, David K. Lynch, Ray W. Russell, Carol A. Grady, Glenn Schneider, Carey M. Lisse, Joseph A. Nuth, Michel Curé, Arne A. Henden, Stefan Kraus, Veronica Motta, Motohide Tamura, Jeremy Hornbeck, Gerard M. Williger, Dino Fugazza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We present 13 epochs of near-infrared (0.8-5μm) spectroscopic observations of the pre-transitional, "gapped" disk system in SAO 206462 (=HD 135344B). In all, six gas emission lines (Brα, Brγ, Paβ, Paγ, Paδ, Paε, and the 0.8446μm line of OI) along with continuum measurements made near the standard J, H, K, and L photometric bands were measured. A mass accretion rate of approximately 2 × 10 -8 M yr-1 was derived from the Brγ and Paβ lines. However, the fluxes of these lines varied by a factor of over two during the course of a few months. The continuum also varied, but by only 30%, and even decreased at a time when the gas emission was increasing. The HI line at 1.083μm was also found to vary in a manner inconsistent with that of either the hydrogen lines or thedust. Both the gas and dust variabilities indicate significant changes in the region of the inner gas and the inner dust belt that may be common to many young disk systems. If planets are responsible for defining the inner edge of the gap, they could interact with the material on timescales commensurate with what is observed for the variations in the dust, while other disk instabilities (thermal, magnetorotational) would operate there on longer timescales than we observe for the inner dust belt. For SAO 206462, the orbital period would likely be 1-3years. If the changes are being induced in the disk material closer to the star than the gap, a variety of mechanisms (disk instabilities, interactions via planets) might be responsible for the changes seen. The HeI feature is most likely due to a wind whose orientation changes with respect to the observer on timescales of a day or less. To further constrain the origin of the gas and dust emission will require multiple spectroscopic and interferometric observations on both shorter and longer timescales that have been sampled so far.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2012


  • planet-disk interactions
  • protoplanetary disks
  • stars: individual (SAO 206462)
  • stars: pre-main sequence
  • techniques: spectroscopic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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