Silicate emission profiles from low-mass protostellar disks in the orion nebula: Evidence for growth and thermal processing of grains

R. Y. Shuping, Marc Kassis, Mark Morris, Nathan Smith, John Bally

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We present 8–13 mm low-resolution spectra (R ≈ 100) of eight low-mass protostellar objects (“proplyds”) in the Orion Nebula using the Long Wavelength Spectrometer at the W. M. Keck Observatory. All but one of the sources in our sample show strong circumstellar silicate emission, with profiles that are qualitatively similar to those seen in some T Tauri and Herbig Ae/Be stars. The silicate profile in all cases is significantly flattened compared with the profile for typical interstellar dust, suggesting that the dominant emitting grains are significantly larger than those found in the interstellar medium. The 11.3-to-9.8 mm flux ratio—often used as an indicator of grain growth—is in the 0.8–1.0 range for all of our targets, indicating that the typical grain size is around a few microns in the surface layers of the attendant circumstellar disk for each object. Furthermore, the silicate profiles show some evidence of crystalline features, as seen in other young stellar objects. The results of our analysis show that the grains in the photoevaporating protostellar disks of Orion have undergone significant growth and perhaps some annealing, suggesting that grain evolution for these objects is not qualitatively different from other young stellar objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L71-L74
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 10 2006
Externally publishedYes



  • Circumstellar matter
  • Planetary systems: protoplanetary disks
  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: pre–main-sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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