A triple-star system with a misaligned and warped circumstellar disk shaped by disk tearing

Stefan Kraus, Alexander Kreplin, Alison K. Young, Matthew R. Bate, John D. Monnier, Tim J. Harries, Henning Avenhaus, Jacques Kluska, Anna S. E. Laws, Evan A. Rich, Matthew Willson, Alicia N. Aarnio, Fred C. Adams, Sean M. Andrews, Narsireddy Anugu, Jaehan Bae, Theo ten Brummelaar, Nuria Calvet, Michel Curé, Claire L. Davies, Jacob Ennis, Catherine Espaillat, Tyler Gardner, Lee Hartmann, Sasha Hinkley, Aaron Labdon, Cyprien Lanthermann, Jean-Baptiste LeBouquin, Gail H. Schaefer, Benjamin R. Setterholm, David Wilner, Zhaohuan Zhu

Abstract: Young stars are surrounded by a circumstellar disk of gas and dust, within which planet formation can occur. Gravitational forces in multiple star systems can disrupt the disk. Theoretical models predict that if the disk is misaligned with the orbital plane of the stars, the disk should warp and break into precessing rings, a phenomenon known as disk tearing. We present observations of the triple-star system GW Orionis, finding evidence for disk tearing. Our images show an eccentric ring that is misaligned with the orbital planes and the outer disk. The ring casts shadows on a strongly warped intermediate region of the disk. If planets can form within the warped disk, disk tearing could provide a mechanism for forming wide-separation planets on oblique orbits.

Journal: Science, Vol. 369, Issue 6508, pp. 1233-1238
Preprint: https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.01204
Submitted by: Stefan Kraus