High-contrast near-infrared polarization imaging of MWC480

N. Kusakabe, C. A. Grady, M. L. Sitko, J. Hashimoto, T. Kudo, M. Fukagawa, T. Muto, J. P. Wisniewski, M. Min, S. Mayama, C. Werren, A. N. Day, L. C. Beerman, D. K. Lynch, R. W. Russell, S. M. Brafford, M. Kuzuhara, T. D. Brandt, L. Abe, W. BrandnerJ. Carson, S. Egner, M. Feldt, M. Goto, O. Guyon, Y. Hayano, M. Hayashi, S. S. Hayashi, T. Henning, K. W. Hodapp, M. Ishii, M. Iye, M. Janson, R. Kandori, G. R. Knapp, T. Matsuo, M. W. McElwain, S. Miyama, J. I. Morino, A. Moro-Martin, T. Nishimura, T. S. Pyo, H. Suto, R. Suzuki, M. Takami, N. Takato, H. Terada, C. Thalmann, D. Tomono, E. L. Turner, M. Watanabe, T. Yamada, H. Takami, T. Usuda, M. Tamura

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42 Scopus citations


One of the key predictions of modeling from the IR excess of Herbig Ae stars is that for protoplanetary disks, where significant grain growth and settling has occurred, the dust disk has flattened to the point that it can be partially or largely shadowed by the innermost material at or near the dust sublimation radius. When the self-shadowing has already started, the outer disk is expected to be detected in scattered light only in the exceptional cases when the scale height of the dust disk at the sublimation radius is smaller than usual. High-contrast imaging combined with the IR spectral energy distribution allow us to measure the degree of flattening of the disk, as well as to determine the properties of the outer disk. We present polarimetric differential imaging in the H band obtained with Subaru/HiCIAO of one such system, MWC480. The HiCIAO data were obtained at a historic minimum of the NIR excess. The disk is detected in scattered light from 02 to 10 (27.4-137 AU). Together with the marginal detection of the disk from 1998 February 24 by Hubble Space Telescope/NICMOS, our data constrain the opening half-angle for the disk to lie between 13 ≤θ ≤ 22. When compared with similar measures in CO for the gas disk from the literature, the dust disk subtends only 30% of the gas disk scale height (H/R 0.03). Such a dust disk is a factor of 5-7 flatter than transitional disks, which have structural signatures that giant planets have formed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number153
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 10 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • protoplanetary disks
  • stars: individual (MWC 480)
  • stars: pre-main sequence


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