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Four annular structures in a protostellar disk less than 500,000 years old

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Segura-Cox,  Dominique M.
Center for Astrochemical Studies at MPE, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Schmiedeke,  Anika
Center for Astrochemical Studies at MPE, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Caselli,  Paola
Center for Astrochemical Studies at MPE, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Segura-Cox, D. M., Schmiedeke, A., Pineda, J. E., Stephens, I. W., Fernández-López, M., Looney, L. W., et al. (2020). Four annular structures in a protostellar disk less than 500,000 years old. Nature, 586(7828), 228-231. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2779-6.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-8880-E
Abstract
Annular structures (rings and gaps) in disks around pre-main-sequence stars have been detected in abundance towards class II protostellar objects that are approximately 1,000,000 years old1. These structures are often interpreted as evidence of planet formation, with planetary-mass bodies carving rings and gaps in the disk. This implies that planet formation may already be underway in even younger disks in the class I phase, when the protostar is still embedded in a larger-scale dense envelope of gas and dust. Only within the past decade have detailed properties of disks in the earliest star-forming phases been observed. Here we report 1.3-millimetre dust emission observations with a resolution of five astronomical units that show four annular substructures in the disk of the young (less than 500,000 years old) protostar IRS 63. IRS 63 is a single class I source located in the nearby Ophiuchus molecular cloud at a distance of 144 parsecs, and is one of the brightest class I protostars at millimetre wavelengths. IRS 63 also has a relatively large disk compared to other young disks (greater than 50 astronomical units). Multiple annular substructures observed towards disks at young ages can act as an early foothold for dust-grain growth, which is a prerequisite of planet formation. Whether or not planets already exist in the disk of IRS 63, it is clear that the planet-formation process begins in the initial protostellar phases, earlier than predicted by current planet-formation theories.