Bright Localized Near-Infrared Emission at 1-4 AU in the AB Aurigae Disk Revealed by IOTA Closure Phases

R. Millan-Gabet, J. D. Monnier, J.-P. Berger, W. A. Traub, F. P. Schloerb, E. Pedretti, M. Benisty, N. P. Carleton, P. Haguenauer, P. Kern, P. Labeye, M. G. Lacasse, F. Malbet, K. Perraut, M. Pearlman, N. Thureau

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Abstract

We report on the detection of localized off-center emission at 1-4 AU in the circumstellar environment of the young stellar object AB Aurigae. We used closure-phase measurements in the near-infrared that were made at the long-baseline interferometer IOTA, the first obtained on a young stellar object using this technique. When probing sub-AU scales, all closure phases are close to zero degrees, as expected given the previously determined size of the AB Aurigae inner-dust disk. However, a clear closure-phase signal of -3.5d +/- 0.5d is detected on one triangle containing relatively short baselines, requiring a high degree of non-point symmetry from emission at larger (AU-sized) scales in the disk. We have not identified any alternative explanation for these closure-phase results, and we demonstrate that a ``disk hot spot'' model can fit our data. We speculate that such detected asymmetric near-infrared emission might arise as a result of localized viscous heating due to a gravitational instability in the AB Aurigae disk, or to the presence of a close stellar companion or accreting substellar object.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L77-L80
Number of pages4
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Volume645
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006

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    Millan-Gabet, R., Monnier, J. D., Berger, J-P., Traub, W. A., Schloerb, F. P., Pedretti, E., Benisty, M., Carleton, N. P., Haguenauer, P., Kern, P., Labeye, P., Lacasse, M. G., Malbet, F., Perraut, K., Pearlman, M., & Thureau, N. (2006). Bright Localized Near-Infrared Emission at 1-4 AU in the AB Aurigae Disk Revealed by IOTA Closure Phases. The Astrophysical Journal, 645(1), L77-L80. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2006ApJ...645L..77M