Evidence for a Circumplanetary Disk around Protoplanet PDS 70 b

Valentin Christiaens, Faustine Cantalloube, Simon Casassus, Daniel J. Price, Olivier Absil, Christophe Pinte, Julien Girard, Matias Montesinos

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We present the first observational evidence for a circumplanetary disk (CPD) around the protoplanet PDS 70 b, based on a new spectrum in the K-band acquired with Very Large Telescope/SINFONI. We tested three hypotheses to explain the spectrum: atmospheric emission from the planet with either (1) a single value of extinction, (2) a variable extinction, and (3) a combined atmospheric and CPD model. Goodness-of-fit indicators favor the third option, suggesting that circumplanetary material contributes excess thermal emission - most prominent at λ ≳ 2.3 μm. Inferred accretion rates (∼10-7.8-10-7.3 M J yr-1) are compatible with observational constraints based on the Hα and Brγ lines. For the planet, we derive an effective temperature of 1500-1600 K, surface gravity , radius ∼1.6R J, mass ∼10M J, and possible thick clouds. Models with variable extinction lead to slightly worse fits. However, the amplitude (ΔA V ≳ 3 mag) and timescale of variation (≲years) required for the extinction would also suggest circumplanetary material.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL33
Number of pages6
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • disk interactions
  • plane
  • planets and satellites: formation
  • protoplanetary disks
  • stars: individual

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