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Evidence for a massive dust-trapping vortex connected to spirals. Multi-wavelength analysis of the HD 135344B protoplanetary disk

Abstract : Context. Spiral arms, rings and large scale asymmetries are structures observed in high resolution observations of protoplanetary disks, and it appears that some of the disks showing spiral arms in scattered light also show asymmetries in millimeter-sized dust. HD 135344B is one such disk. Planets are invoked as the origin of these structures, but no planet has been observed so far and upper limits are becoming more stringent with time.
Aims: We want to investigate the nature of the asymmetric structure in the HD 135344B disk in order to understand the origin of the spirals and of the asymmetry seen in this disk. Ultimately, we aim to understand whether or not one or more planets are needed to explain such structures.
Methods: We present new ALMA sub-0.1'' resolution observations at optically thin wavelengths (λ = 2.8 and 1.9 mm) of the HD 135344B disk. The high spatial resolution allows us to unambiguously characterize the mm-dust morphology of the disk. The low optical depth of continuum emission probes the bulk of the dust content of the vortex. Moreover, we have combined the new observations with archival data at shorter wavelengths to perform a multi-wavelength analysis and to obtain information about the dust distribution and properties inside the observed asymmetry.
Results: We resolve the asymmetric disk into a symmetric ring + asymmetric crescent, and observe that (1) the spectral index strongly decreases at the centre of the vortex, consistent with the presence of large grains; (2) for the first time, an azimuthal shift of the peak of the vortex with wavelength is observed; (3) the azimuthal width of the vortex decreases at longer wavelengths, as expected for dust traps. These features allow confirming the nature of the asymmetry as a vortex. Finally, under the assumption of optically thin emission, a lower limit to the total mass of the vortex is 0.3MJupiter. Considering the uncertainties involved in this estimate, it is possible that the actual mass of the vortex is higher and possibly within the required values ( 4 MJupiter) to launch spiral arms similar to those observed in scattered light. If this is the case, then explaining the morphology does not require an outer planet.

The reduced Band 3 and Band 4 data (FITS files) are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to ( or via qcat?J/A+A/619/A161

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Submitted on : Monday, June 13, 2022 - 5:31:28 PM
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P. Cazzoletti, E. F. van Dishoeck, P. Pinilla, M. Tazzari, S. Facchini, et al.. Evidence for a massive dust-trapping vortex connected to spirals. Multi-wavelength analysis of the HD 135344B protoplanetary disk. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2018, 619, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201834006⟩. ⟨insu-03693527⟩



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