Probing the gaseous disk of T Tau N with CN 5-4 lines

L. Podio, I. Kamp, C. Codella, B. Nisini, G. Aresu, S. Brittain, S. Cabrit, C. Dougados, C. Grady, R. Meijerink, G. Sandell, M. Spaans, W.-F. Thi, G.J. White, P. Woitke

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We present spectrally resolved observations of the young multiple system T Tau in atomic and molecular lines obtained with the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared on board Herschel. While CO, H2O, [C II], and SO lines trace the envelope and the outflowing gas up to velocities of 33 km s-1 with respect to systemic, the CN 5-4 hyperfine structure lines at 566.7, 566.9 GHz show a narrow double-peaked profile centered at systemic velocity, consistent with an origin in the outer region of the compact disk of T Tau N. Disk modeling of the T Tau N disk with the thermo-chemical code ProDiMo produces CN line fluxes and profiles consistent with the observed ones and constrain the size of the gaseous disk (Rout 110+10-20 AU) and its inclination (i = 25°± 5°). The model indicates that the CN lines originate in a disk upper layer at 40-110 AU from the star, which is irradiated by the stellar UV field and heated up to temperatures of 50-700 K. With respect to previously observed CN 2-1 millimeter lines, the CN 5-4 lines appear to be less affected by envelope emission, due to their larger critical density and excitation temperature. Hence, high-J CN lines are a unique confusion-free tracer of embedded disks, such as the disk of T Tau N.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL26
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Early online date24 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2014


  • Astrochemistry
  • ISM: molecules
  • Protoplanetary disks
  • Stars: individual (T Tau)


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