Large Binocular Telescope Search for Companions and Substructures in the (Pre)transitional Disk of AB Aurigae
Multiwavelength high-resolution imaging of protoplanetary disks has revealed the presence of multiple, varied substructures in their dust and gas components, which might be signposts of young, forming planetary systems. AB Aurigae bears an emblematic (pre)transitional disk showing spiral structures observed in the inner cavity of the disk in both the submillimeter (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA); 1.3 mm, 12CO) and near-infrared (Spectro-polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research; 1.5-2.5 μm) wavelengths, which have been claimed to arise from dynamical interactions with a massive companion. In this work, we present new deep K s (2.16 μm) and L' (3.7 μm) band images of AB Aurigae obtained with the L/M-band Infrared Camera on the Large Binocular Telescope, aimed for the detection of both planetary companions and extended disk structures. No point source is recovered, in particular at the outer regions of the disk, where a putative candidate (ρ = 0.″681, PA = 7.°6) had been previously claimed. The nature of a second innermost planet candidate (ρ = 0.″16, PA = 203.°9) cannot be investigated by the new data. We are able to derive 5σ detection limits in both magnitude and mass for the system, going from 14 M Jup at 0.″3 (49 au) down to 3-4 M Jup at 0.″6 (98 au) and beyond, based on the ATMO 2020 evolutionary models. We detect the inner spiral structures (<0.″5) resolved in both CO and polarimetric H-band observations. We also recover the ring structure of the system at larger separation (0.″5-0.″7) showing a clear southeast/northwest asymmetry. This structure, observed for the first time at L' band, remains interior to the dust cavity seen at ALMA, suggesting an efficient dust trapping mechanism at play in the disk.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- February 2022
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- 13 pages, 5 figures, accepted on ApJ