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The VLTI/PIONIER near-infrared interferometric survey of southern T Tauri stars. I. First results

Abstract : Context. The properties of the inner disks of bright Herbig AeBe stars have been studied with near-infrared (NIR) interferometry and high resolution spectroscopy. The continuum (dust) and a few molecular gas species have been studied close to the central star; however, sensitivity problems limit direct information about the inner disks of the fainter T Tauri stars.
Aims: Our aim is to measure some of the properties (inner radius, brightness profile, shape) of the inner regions of circumstellar disk surrounding southern T Tauri stars.
Methods: We performed a survey with the VLTI/PIONIER recombiner instrument at H-band of 21 T Tauri stars. The baselines used ranged from 11 m to 129 m, corresponding to a maximum resolution of ~3 mas (~0.45 au at 150 pc).
Results: Thirteen disks are resolved well and the visibility curves are fully sampled as a function of baseline in the range 45-130 m for these 13 objects. A simple qualitative examination of visibility profiles allows us to identify a rapid drop-off in the visibilities at short baselines(<10 Mλ) in 8 resolved disks. This is indicative of a significant contribution from an extended (R> 3 au, at 150 pc) contribution of light from the disk. We demonstrate that this component is compatible with scattered light, providing strong support to an earlier prediction. The amplitude of the drop-off and the amount of dust thermal emission changes from source to source suggesting that each disk is different. A by-product of the survey is the identification of a new milli-arcsec separation binary: WW Cha. Spectroscopic and interferometric data of AK Sco have also been fitted with a binary + disk model.
Conclusions: The visibility data are reproduced well when thermal emission and scattering from dust are fully considered. The inner radii measured are consistent with the expected dust sublimation radii. The modelling of AK Sco suggests a likely coplanarity between the disk and the binary's orbital plane.

Data obtained at the ESO VLTI as part of programmes 086. C-0433, 087. C-0703, 088. C-0670, and 089. C-0769. Appendices A and B are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org

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F. Anthonioz, F. Ménard, C. Pinte, J. -B. Le Bouquin, M. Benisty, et al.. The VLTI/PIONIER near-infrared interferometric survey of southern T Tauri stars. I. First results. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2015, 574, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201424520⟩. ⟨insu-03634083⟩

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