Near-infrared coronagraphic imaging of the circumstellar disk around TW hydrae

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© 2001. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. We present ground-based near-infrared (H-band) imaging of the circumstellar disk around the nearby classical T Tauri star TW Hydrae. The scattered-light image shows a face-on disk with a radius of 4″ (corresponding to 225 AU) and a morphology that agrees with recent images from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Very Large Array. The best-fit power-law for the disk's radial surface brightness profile obeys the law r-3.3-0.3. We use our image and published continuum flux densities to derive properties of the disk with a simple model of emission from a flat disk. The best-fit values for disk mass and inner radius are 0.03 M⊙ and 0.3 AU, respectively; the , best-fit values for the temperature, density, and grain opacity power-law exponents (q, p, and β) are 0.7, 1.3, and 0.9, respectively. These properties are similar to those of disks around classical T Tauri stars located in more distant molecular clouds. Because of TW Hydrae's nearby location and pole-on orientation, it is a uniquely favorable object for future studies of radial disk structure at the classical T Tauri stage.

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Astrophysical Journal Letters