External or internal companion exciting the spiral arms in CQ Tau?

Iain Hammond, Valentin Christiaens, Daniel J. Price, Maria Giulia Ubeira-Gabellini, Jennifer Baird, Josh Calcino, Myriam Benisty, Giuseppe Lodato, Leonardo Testi, Christophe Pinte, Claudia Toci, Davide Fedele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We present new high-contrast images in near-infrared wavelengths (λc = 1.04, 1.24, 1.62, 2.18, and 3.78 μm) of the young variable star CQ Tau, aiming to constrain the presence of companions in the protoplanetary disc. We reached a Ks-band contrast of 14 mag with SPHERE/IRDIS at separations greater than 0${_{.}^{\prime\prime}}$4 from the star. Our mass sensitivity curve rules out giant planets above 4 MJup immediately outside the spiral arms at ∼60 au and above 2-3 MJup beyond 100 au to 5σ confidence assuming hot-start models. We do, however, detect four spiral arms, a double-arc and evidence for shadows in scattered light cast by a misaligned inner disc. Our observations may be explained by an unseen close-in companion on an inclined and eccentric orbit. Such a hypothesis would also account for the disc CO cavity and disturbed kinematics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6109-6121
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • planet-disc interactions
  • protoplanetary discs
  • techniques: image processing

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