Properties of the Flying Saucer protoplanetary disk

Properties of the Flying Saucer protoplanetary disk

The "Flying Saucer" disk surrounds the star that is called 2MASS J16281370-2431391 and located at about 120 parsecs (or 390 light-years) from Earth in the nearby Rho Ophiuchi star-forming region. The disk was serendipitously discovered by Grosso et al. in 2001 by a near-infrared survey with the New Technology Telescope (NTT) and follow-up near-infrared observations with better angular resolution were obtained with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) (see Grosso et al. 2003 and eso0214 Press Release).

Near-infrared image of the Flying Saucer protoplanetary disk around the Sun-like young star 2MASS J16281370-2431391 obtained with the 8-m Very Large Telescope in 2001 (blue=J-band, green=H-band, and red=Ks-band; credit: ESO)

The central young star is not directly visible, therefore it is hard to obtain its spectrum and accurately derive its mass. The mass of the star was inferred indirectly via modeling of the processed stellar light (the spectral energy distribution) by the dust in the dusty protoplanetary disk. The star is a similar to a young Sun and has a mass of about 0.6 solar masses with an effective temperature of about 3,500 Kelvin.

The disk has a size of about 250 au (astronomical unit = the Earth-Sun distance), a mass of a few percent of the solar mass, and is almost perfectly edge-on oriented, with an inclination angle very close to 90 degrees. The disk parameters are summarized in the Table below (taken from Guilloteau et al. (2016), Astronomy & Astrophysics):

Further information about the properties of the central star and gas and dust temperature and density distributions in the Flying Saucer disk can be found in the scientific papers on the NASA ADS.

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