Evolution of brown dwarf disks: A Spitzer survey in Upper Scorpius

Alexander Scholz, Ray Jayawardhana, Kenneth Wood, Gwendolyn Meeus, Beate Stelzer, Christina Walker, Mark O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have carried out a Spitzer survey for brown dwarf disks in the -5 Myr old Upper Scorpius ( UpSco) starforming region, using IRS spectroscopy from 8 to 12 m and MIPS photometry at 24 m. Our sample consists of 35 confirmed very low mass members of UpSco. Thirteen objects in this sample show clear excess flux at 24 mu m, explained by dust emission from a circum-substellar disk. The spectral energy distributions (SEDs)of the remaining objects are consistent with pure photospheric emission. Objects without excess emission have either no disks or disks with inner opacity holes of at least -5 AU radii. Our disk frequency of 37% +/- 9% is higher than what has been derived previously for K0-M5 stars in the same region ( 1.8 sigma confidence level), suggesting a mass-dependent disk lifetime in UpSco. The clear distinction between objects with and without disks, as well as the lack of transition objects, shows that disk dissipation inside 5 AU occurs rapidly, probably on timescales of greater than or similar to 10(5) yr. For the objects with disks, most SEDs are uniformly flat, with flux levels of a few mJy, well modeled as emission from dusty disks affected by dust settling to the midplane. The silicate feature around 10 mu m is either absent or weak in our SEDs, arguing for a lack of hot, small dust grains. Compared with younger objects in Taurus, brown dwarf disks in UpSco show less flaring. These results clearly demonstrate that we see disks in an advanced evolutionary state. Dust settling and grain growth are ubiquituous in circum-substellar disks at ages of 5 Myr, arguing for planet-forming processes in brown dwarf disks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1517-1531
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume660
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2007

Keywords

  • circumstellar matter
  • infrared : stars
  • stars : formation
  • stars : low-mass, brown dwarfs
  • T-TAURI STARS
  • LOW-MASS STARS
  • INFRARED SPECTROGRAPH SPECTRA
  • OB ASSOCIATION
  • PROTOPLANETARY DISK
  • CIRCUMSTELLAR DISK
  • SUBSTELLAR OBJECTS
  • ECHELLE SPECTRA
  • GRAIN-GROWTH
  • ACCRETION

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