Repository logo

Testing protoplanetary disc evolution with CO fluxes: A proof of concept in Lupus and Upper Sco

Published version

Repository DOI



Change log


jats:pThe Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) revolutionised our understanding of protoplanetary discs. However, the available data have not given conclusive answers yet on the underlying disc evolution mechanisms: viscosity or magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) winds. Improving upon the current results, mostly based on the analysis of disc sizes, is difficult because larger, deeper, and higher angular resolution surveys would be required, which could be prohibitive even for ALMA. In this Letter we introduce an alternative method to study disc evolution based on jats:sup12</jats:sup>CO fluxes. Fluxes can be readily collected using less time-consuming lower resolution observations, while tracing the same disc physico-chemical processes as sizes: assuming that jats:sup12</jats:sup>CO is optically thick, fluxes scale with the disc surface area. We developed a semi-analytical model to compute jats:sup12</jats:sup>CO fluxes and benchmarked it against the results of jats:monospaceDALI</jats:monospace> thermochemical models, recovering an agreement within a factor of three. As a proof of concept we compared our models with Lupus and Upper Sco data, taking advantage of the increased samples, by a factor 1.3 (Lupus) and 3.6 (Upper Sco), when studying fluxes instead of sizes. Models and data agree well only if CO depletion is considered. However, the uncertainties on the initial conditions limited our interpretation of the observations. Our new method can be used to design future ad hoc observational strategies to collect better data and give conclusive answers on disc evolution.</jats:p>



accretion, accretion disks, planets and satellites, formation, protoplanetary disks, stars, pre-main sequence, submillimeter, planetary systems

Journal Title

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



EDP Sciences
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (823823)
STFC (ST/W000997/1)