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Model scattering envelopes of young stellar objects. I - Method and application to circumstellar disks
Whitney, Barbara A.; Hartmann, Lee
AA(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA), AB(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 395, no. 2, Aug. 20, 1992, p. 529-539. (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Monte Carlo Method, Pre-Main Sequence Stars, Radiative Transfer, Star Formation, T Tauri Stars, Light Scattering, Optical Thickness, Point Sources, Stellar Envelopes, Stellar Occultation
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We describe a Monte Carlo code that accurately treats multiple scattering, absorption, and polarization by dust, and use this code to calculate images of dusty disks around young stellar objects. We present some approximate analytic results that describe the behavior of the Monte Carlo calculations. A geometrically thin disk illuminated by a central T Tauri star scatters very little light at distances of many AU from the star. Viewed at any inclination, the flux scattered by such a disk at the distance to the nearest star-forming region will be overwhelmed by the stellar image. An optically thick disk that has a flaring surface may be observable, especially if viewed nearly edge-on so that the stellar source becomes occulted. An optically thin disk with a finite opening angle, similar to the one surrounding beta Pictoris, is about as observable as the typical flared optically thick disk at a similar distance from the earth. The polarization position angle is perpendicular to the disk plane in all of the models, in contrast to observations of many young stellar objects which have the position angle oriented parallel to the presumed disk plane. We suggest that the scattered light structures observed around many premain-sequence objects are dusty envelopes rather than disks.

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