Hubble Space Telescope Scattered-light Imaging and Modeling of the Edge-on Protoplanetary Disk ESO-Hα 569

Schuyler G. Wolff, Marshall D. Perrin, Karl Stapelfeldt, Gaspard Duchene, Francois Ménard, Deborah Padgett, Christophe Pinte, Laurent Pueyo, William J. Fischer

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We present new Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Advanced Camera for Surveys observations and detailed models for a recently discovered edge-on protoplanetary disk around ESO-Hα 569 (a low-mass T Tauri star in the Cha I star-forming region). Using radiative transfer models, we probe the distribution of the grains and overall shape of the disk (inclination, scale height, dust mass, flaring exponent, and surface/volume density exponent) by model fitting to multiwavelength (F606W and F814W) HST observations together with a literature-compiled spectral energy distribution. A new tool set was developed for finding optimal fits of MCFOST radiative transfer models using the MCMC code emcee to efficiently explore the high-dimensional parameter space. It is able to self-consistently and simultaneously fit a wide variety of observables in order to place constraints on the physical properties of a given disk, while also rigorously assessing the uncertainties in those derived properties. We confirm that ESO-Hα 569 is an optically thick nearly edge-on protoplanetary disk. The shape of the disk is well-described by a flared disk model with an exponentially tapered outer edge, consistent with models previously advocated on theoretical grounds and supported by millimeter interferometry. The scattered-light images and spectral energy distribution are best fit by an unusually high total disk mass (gas+dust assuming a ratio of 100:1) with a disk-to-star mass ratio of 0.16.

Original languageEnglish
Article number56
Number of pages19
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • protoplanetary disks
  • radiative transfer

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