HCO+ detection of dust-depleted gas in the inner hole of the LkCa 15 pre-transitional disk

E. Drabek-Maunder, S. Mohanty, J. Greaves, I. Kamp, R. Meijerink, M. Spaans, W. F. Thi, P. Woitke

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7 Citations (Scopus)


LkCa 15 is an extensively studied star in the Taurus region, known for its pre-transitional disk with a large inner cavity in the dust continuum and normal gas accretion rate. The most popular hypothesis to explain the LkCa 15 data invokes one or more planets to carve out the inner cavity, while gas continues to flow across the gap from the outer disk onto the central star. We present spatially unresolved HCO+ J = 4 → 3 observations of the LkCa 15 disk from the James Clerk Maxwell telescope (JCMT) and model the data with the ProDiMo code. We find that: (1) HCO+ line-wings are clearly detected, certifying the presence of gas in the cavity within ≲50 au of the star. (2) Reproducing the observed line-wing flux requires both a significant suppression of cavity dust (by a factor ≥ 104 compared to the interstellar medium (ISM)) and a substantial increase in the gas scale-height within the cavity (H0/R0 ∼ 0.6). An ISM dust-to-gas ratio (d:g = 10-2) yields too little line-wing flux, regardless of the scale-height or cavity gas geometry, while a smaller scale-height also under-predicts the flux even with a reduced d:g. (3) The cavity gas mass is consistent with the surface density profile of the outer disk extended inwards to the sublimation radius (corresponding to mass Md ∼ 0.03 M), and masses lower by a factor ≥10 appear to be ruled out.

Original languageEnglish
Article number260
Number of pages19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2016


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Protoplanetary disks
  • Stars: protostars


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