The Physical Structure Of Protoplanetary Disks: The Serpens Cluster Compared With Other Regions




Oliveira, Isa
Merin, Bruno
Pontoppidan, Klaus M.
van Dishoeck, Ewine F.

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Spectral energy distributions are presented for 94 young stars surrounded by disks in the Serpens Molecular Cloud, based on photometry and Spitzer/IRS spectra. Most of the stars have spectroscopically determined spectral types. Taking a distance to the cloud of 415 pc rather than 259 pc, the distribution of ages is shifted to lower values, in the 1-3Myr range, with a tail up to 10 Myr. The mass distribution spans 0.2-1.2 M-circle dot, with median mass of 0.7 M-circle dot. The distribution of fractional disk luminosities in Serpens resembles that of the young Taurus Molecular Cloud, with most disks consistent with optically thick, passively irradiated disks in a variety of disk geometries (L-disk/L-star similar to 0.1). In contrast, the distributions for the older Upper Scorpius and. Chamaeleontis clusters are dominated by optically thin lower luminosity disks (L-disk/L-star similar to 0.02). This evolution in fractional disk luminosities is concurrent with that of disk fractions: with time disks become fainter and the disk fractions decrease. The actively accreting and non-accreting stars (based on H alpha data) in Serpens show very similar distributions in fractional disk luminosities, differing only in the brighter tail dominated by strongly accreting stars. In contrast with a sample of Herbig Ae/Be stars, the T Tauri stars in Serpens do not have a clear separation in fractional disk luminosities for different disk geometries: both flared and flat disks present wider, overlapping distributions. This result is consistent with previous suggestions of a faster evolution for disks around Herbig Ae/Be stars. Furthermore, the results for the mineralogy of the dust in the disk surface (grain sizes, temperatures and crystallinity fractions, as derived from Spitzer/IRS spectra) do not show any correlation to either stellar and disk characteristics or mean cluster age in the 1-10 Myr range probed here. A possible explanation for the lack of correlation is that the processes affecting the dust within disks have short timescales, happening repeatedly, making it difficult to distinguish long-lasting evolutionary effects.


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Oliveira, Isa, Bruno Mer�n, Klaus M. Pontoppidan, and Ewine F. Van Dishoeck. "The physical structure of protoplanetary disks: the Serpens cluster compared with other regions." The Astrophysical Journal 762, no. 2 (Jan., 2013): 128.