Variations in molecular cloud environments have the potential to affect the composition and structure of the circumstellar disks therein. To this end, comparative analyses of nearby star-forming regions are essential to informing theoretical work. In particular, the Ophiuchus molecular clouds are ideal for comparison as they are more compact with much higher extinction than Taurus, the low-mass exemplar, and experience a moderate amount of external radiation. We have carried out a study of a collection of 136 young stellar objects in the <1 Myr old Ophiuchus star-forming region, featuring Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph spectra from 5 to 36 μm, supplemented with photometry from 0.3 μm to 1.3 mm. By classifying these objects using the McClure new molecular cloud extinction law to establish an extinction-independent index, we arrive at a ∼ 10% embedded objects fraction, producing an embedded lifetime of 0.2 Myr, similar to that in Taurus. We analyze the degree of dust sedimentation and dust grain processing in the disks, finding that the disks are highly settled with signs of significant dust processing even at ∼ 0.3 Myr. Finally, we discuss the wealth of evidence for radial gap structures which could be evidence for disk-planet interactions and explore the effects of stellar multiplicity on the degree of settling and radial structure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science