We present 5-40μm Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph spectra of a collection of transitional disks, objects for which the spectral energy distribution (SED) indicates central clearings (holes) or gaps in the dust distribution, in the Chamaeleon I star-forming region. Like their counterparts in the Taurus-Auriga star-forming region that we have previously observed, the spectra of these young objects (1-3Myr old) reveal that the central clearings or gaps are very sharp-edged, and are surrounded by optically thick dusty disks similar to those around other classical T Tauri stars in the Chamaeleon I association. Also like the Taurus transitional disks, the Chamaeleon I transitional disks have extremely large depletion factors for small dust grains in their gaps, compared to the full accretion disks whose SEDs are represented by the median SED of ClassII objects in the region. We find that the fraction of transitional disks in the Chamaeleon I cloud is somewhat higher than that in the Taurus-Auriga cloud, possibly indicating that the frequency of transitional disks, on average, increases with cluster age. We also find a significant correlation between the stellar mass and the radius of the outer edge of the gap. We discuss the disk structures implied by the spectra and the constraints they place on gap-formation mechanisms in protoplanetary disks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science