Compact Disks in a High-resolution ALMA Survey of Dust Structures in the Taurus Molecular Cloud

Feng Long, Gregory J. Herczeg, Daniel Harsono, Paola Pinilla, Marco Tazzari, Carlo F. Manara, Ilaria Pascucci, Sylvie Cabrit, Brunella Nisini, Doug Johnstone, Suzan Edwards, Colette Salyk, Francois Menard, Giuseppe Lodato, Yann Boehler, Gregory N. Mace, Yao Liu, Gijs D. Mulders, Nathanial Hendler, Enrico RagusaWilliam J. Fischer, Andrea Banzatti, Elisabetta Rigliaco, Gerrit Van De Plas, Giovanni Dipierro, Michael Gully-Santiago, Ricardo Lopez-Valdivia

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153 Scopus citations


We present a high-resolution (∼0.″12, ∼16 au, mean sensitivity of 50 μJy beam-1 at 225 GHz) snapshot survey of 32 protoplanetary disks around young stars with spectral type earlier than M3 in the Taurus star-forming region using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array. This sample includes most mid-infrared excess members that were not previously imaged at high spatial resolution, excluding close binaries and objects with high extinction, thereby providing a more representative look at disk properties at 1-2 Myr. Our 1.3 mm continuum maps reveal 12 disks with prominent dust gaps and rings, 2 of which are around primary stars in wide binaries, and 20 disks with no resolved features at the observed resolution (hereafter smooth disks), 8 of which are around the primary star in wide binaries. The smooth disks were classified based on their lack of resolved substructures, but their most prominent property is that they are all compact with small effective emission radii (R eff,95% ≲ 50 au). In contrast, all disks with R eff,95% of at least 55 au in our sample show detectable substructures. Nevertheless, their inner emission cores (inside the resolved gaps) have similar peak brightness, power-law profiles, and transition radii to the compact smooth disks, so the primary difference between these two categories is the lack of outer substructures in the latter. These compact disks may lose their outer disk through fast radial drift without dust trapping, or they might be born with small sizes. The compact dust disks, as well as the inner disk cores of extended ring disks, that look smooth at the current resolution will likely show small-scale or low-contrast substructures at higher resolution. The correlation between disk size and disk luminosity correlation demonstrates that some of the compact disks are optically thick at millimeter wavelengths.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • circumstellar matter
  • planets and satellites: formation
  • protoplanetary disks
  • stars: pre-main sequence


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