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On the Origin of the Spiral Morphology in the Elias 2-27 Circumstellar Disk

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Meru, F 
Juhász, A 
Ilee, JD 
Clarke, CJ 
Rosotti, GP 


The young star Elias 2-27 has recently been observed to posses a massive circumstellar disk with two prominent large-scale spiral arms. In this Letter, we perform three-dimensional Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics simulations, radiative transfer modeling, synthetic ALMA imaging, and an unsharped masking technique to explore three possibilities for the origin of the observed structures - an undetected companion either internal or external to the spirals, and a self-gravitating disk. We find that a gravitationally unstable disk and a disk with an external companion can produce morphology that is consistent with the observations. In addition, for the latter, we find that the companion could be a relatively massive planetary-mass companion (≲10-13 M Jup ) and located at large radial distances (between ≈300-700 au). We therefore suggest that Elias 2-27 may be one of the first detections of a disk undergoing gravitational instabilities, or a disk that has recently undergone fragmentation to produce a massive companion.



hydrodynamics, planet–disk interactions, protoplanetary disks, radiative transfer, stars: individual (Elias 2–27), stars: pre-main sequence

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Astrophysical Journal Letters

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IOP Publishing
Isaac Newton Trust (1508(e))
Leverhulme Trust (ECF-2015-390)
European Research Council (341137)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/N000927/1)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/H008586/1)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/J005673/1)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/K00333X/1)
We acknowledge support from the DISCSIM project, grant agreement 341137 under ERC-2013-ADG. F.M. acknowledges support from The Leverhulme Trust. This Letter uses the following ALMA data: ADS/JAO.ALMA# 2013.1.00498.S. This work used the Darwin DiRAC HPC cluster at the University of Cambridge and was undertaken on the Cambridge COSMOS SMP system, part of the STFC DiRAC HPC Facility supported by BIS NeI capital grant ST/J005673/1 and STFC grants ST/H008586/1, ST/K00333X/1.