Molecules in the circumstellar disk orbiting BP Piscium

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Title: Molecules in the circumstellar disk orbiting BP Piscium
Author: Kastner, Joel; Zuckerman, B.; Forveille, Thierry
Abstract: BP Psc is a puzzling late-type, emission-line field star with large infrared excess. The star is encircled and enshrouded by a nearly edge-on, dusty circumstellar disk, and displays an extensive jet system similar to those associated with pre-main sequence (pre-MS) stars. However, the photospheric absorption features of the star itself appear more consistent with post-main sequence status. Aims. We seek to characterize the molecular gas component of the BP Psc disk, so as to compare the properties of its molecular disk with those of well-studied pre-main sequence stars. Methods. We conducted a mm-wave molecular line survey of BP Psc with the 30 m telescope of the Institut de Radio Astronomie Millimetrique (IRAM). We use these data to investigate the kinematics, gas mass, and chemical constituents of the BP Psc disk. Results. We detected lines of 12CO and 13CO and, possibly, very weak emission from HCO+ and CN; HCN, H2CO, and SiO are not detected. The CO line profiles of BP Psc are well fit by a model invoking a disk in Keplerian rotation. The mimumum disk gas mass, inferred from the 12CO line intensity and 13CO/12CO line ratio, is ∼0.1 Jupiter masses. Conclusions. The weakness of HCO+ and CN (relative to 13CO) stands in sharp contrast to the strong HCO+ and CN emission that characterizes most low-mass, pre-main sequence stars that have been the subjects of molecular emission-line surveys, and is suggestive of a very low level of X-ray-induced molecular ionization within the BP Psc disk. These results lend some support to the notion that BP Psc is an evolved star whose circumstellar disk has its origins in a catastrophic interaction with a close companion.
Description: Also archived in: arXiv:0805.2293v1 [astro-ph]
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Date: 2008

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