An explanation of the very low radio flux of young planet-mass companions

Ya Lin Wu, Laird M. Close, Josh A. Eisner, Patrick D. Sheehan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


We report Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) 1.3 mm continuum upper limits for five planetary-mass companions DH Tau B, CT Cha B, GSC 6214-210 B, 1RXS 1609 B, and GQ Lup B. Our survey, together with other ALMA studies, have yielded null results for disks around young planet-mass companions and placed stringent dust mass upper limits, typically less than 0.1 M , when assuming dust continuum is optically thin. Such low-mass gas/dust content can lead to a disk lifetime estimate (from accretion rates) much shorter than the age of the system. To alleviate this timescale discrepancy, we suggest that disks around wide companions might be very compact and optically thick in order to sustain a few Myr of accretion, yet have very weak (sub)millimeter flux so as to still be elusive to ALMA. Our order-of-magnitude estimate shows that compact optically thick disks might be smaller than 1000 R Jup and only emit ∼μJy of flux in the (sub)millimeter, but their average temperature can be higher than that of circumstellar disks. The high disk temperature could impede satellite formation, but it also suggests that mid- to far-infrared might be more favorable than radio wavelengths to characterize disk properties. Finally, the compact disk size might imply that dynamical encounters between the companion and the star, or any other scatterers in the system, play a role in the formation of planetary-mass companions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number234
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • accretion, accretion disks - planets and satellites
  • general - techniques
  • interferometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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