Constraints on a planetary origin for the gap in the protoplanetary disc of GM Aurigae

W. K. M. Rice, Kenneth Wood, P. J. Armitage, B. A. Whitney, J. E. Bjorkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The unusual spectral energy distribution (SED) of the classical T Tauri star GM Aurigae provides evidence for the presence of an inner disc hole extending to several au. Using a combination of hydrodynamical simulations and Monte Carlo radiative transport, we investigate whether the observed SED is consistent with the inner hole being created and maintained by an orbiting planet. We show that an ~2 MJ planet, orbiting at 2.5 au in a disc with mass 0.047 Msolar and radius 300 au, provides a good match both to the SED and to CO observations which constrain the velocity field in the disc. A range of planet masses is allowed by current data, but could in principle be distinguished with further observations between 3 and ~20 μm. Future high-precision astrometric instruments should also be able to detect the motion of the central star caused by an orbiting Jupiter-mass planet. We argue that the small number of T Tauri stars with SEDs resembling that of GM Aur is broadly consistent with the expected statistics of embedded migrating planets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-85
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003


  • accretion
  • accretion discs
  • radiative transfer
  • scattering
  • planetary systems: protoplanetary discs
  • stars: pre-main-sequence
  • dust
  • extinction


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