The structure of pre-transitional protoplanetary disks. I. Radiative transfer modeling of the disk+cavity in the PDS 70 system

Ruobing Dong, Jun Hashimoto, Roman Rafikov, Zhaohuan Zhu, Barbara Whitney, Tomoyuki Kudo, Takayuki Muto, Timothy Brandt, Melissa K. McClure, John Wisniewski, L. Abe, W. Brandner, J. Carson, S. Egner, M. Feldt, M. Goto, C. Grady, O. Guyon, Y. Hayano, M. HayashiS. Hayashi, T. Henning, K. W. Hodapp, M. Ishii, M. Iye, M. Janson, R. Kandori, G. R. Knapp, N. Kusakabe, M. Kuzuhara, J. Kwon, T. Matsuo, M. McElwain, S. Miyama, J. I. Morino, A. Moro-Martin, T. Nishimura, T. S. Pyo, E. Serabyn, H. Suto, R. Suzuki, M. Takami, N. Takato, H. Terada, C. Thalmann, D. Tomono, E. Turner, M. Watanabe, T. Yamada, H. Takami, T. Usuda, M. Tamura

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Through detailed radiative transfer modeling, we present a disk+cavity model to simultaneously explain both the spectral energy distribution (SED) and Subaru H-band polarized light imaging for the pre-transitional protoplanetary disk PDS 70. In particular, we are able to match not only the radial dependence but also the absolute scale of the surface brightness of the scattered light. Our disk model has a cavity 65 AU in radius, which is heavily depleted of sub-micron-sized dust grains, and a small residual inner disk that produces a weak but still optically thick near-IR excess in the SED. To explain the contrast of the cavity's edge in the Subaru image, a factor of 1000 depletion for the sub-micron-sized dust inside the cavity is required. The total dust mass of the disk may be on the order of 10-4 M, only weakly constrained due to the lack of long-wavelength observations and the uncertainties in the dust model. The scale height of the sub-micron-sized dust is 6 AU at the cavity edge, and the cavity wall is optically thick in the vertical direction at H-band. PDS 70 is not a member of the class of (pre-)transitional disks identified by Dong et al., whose members only show evidence of the cavity in the millimeter-size dust but not the sub-micron-sized dust in resolved images. The two classes of (pre-)transitional disks may form through different mechanisms, or they may simply be at different evolution stages in the disk-clearing process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • circumstellar matter
  • protoplanetary disks
  • radiative transfer
  • stars: individual (PDS 70)
  • stars: pre-main sequence


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