Context. Transitional disks are thought to be a late evolutionary stage of protoplanetary disks whose inner regions have been depleted of dust. The mechanism responsible for this depletion is still under debate. To constrain the various models it is mandatory to have a good understanding of the properties of the gas content in the inner part of the disk.
Aims: Using X-Shooter broad band - UV to near-infrared - medium-resolution spectroscopy, we derive the stellar, accretion, and wind properties of a sample of 22 transitional disks. The analysis of these properties allows us to place strong constraints on the gas content in a region very close to the star (≲0.2 AU) that is not accessible with any other observational technique.
Methods: We fitted the spectra with a self-consistent procedure to simultaneously derive spectral type, extinction, and accretion properties of the targets. From the continuum excess at near-infrared wavelength we distinguished whether our targets have dust free inner holes. By analyzing forbidden emission lines, we derived the wind properties of the targets. We then compared our findings with results for classical T Tauri stars.
Results: The accretion rates and wind properties of 80% of the transitional disks in our sample, which is strongly biased toward stongly accreting objects, are comparable to those of classical T Tauri stars. Thus, there are (at least) some transitional disks with accretion properties compatible with those of classical T Tauri stars, irrespective of the size of the dust inner hole. Only in two cases are the mass accretion rates much lower, while the wind properties remain similar. We detected no strong trend of the mass accretion rates with the size of the dust-depleted cavity or with the presence of a dusty optically thick disk very close to the star. These results suggest that, close to the central star, there is a gas-rich inner disk with a density similar to that of classical T Tauri star disks.
Conclusions: The sample analyzed here suggests that, at least for some objects, the process responsible of the inner disk clearing allows for a transfer of gas from the outer disk to the inner region. This should proceed at a rate that does not depend on the physical mechanisms that produces the gap seen in the dust emission and results in a gas density in the inner disk similar to that of unperturbed disks around stars of similar mass.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- August 2014
- stars: pre-main sequence;
- stars: formation;
- protoplanetary disks;
- accretion disks;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- Accepted on Astronomy &