A coplanar circumbinary protoplanetary disk in the TWA 3 triple M dwarf system

Ian Czekala, Álvaro Ribas, Nicolás Cuello, Eugene Chiang, Enrique Macías, Gaspard Duchêne, Sean M. Andrews, Catherine C. Espaillat

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18 Scopus citations


We present sensitive ALMA observations of TWA 3, a nearby, young (∼10 Myr) hierarchical system composed of three pre-main-sequence M3–M4.5 stars. For the first time, we detected 12CO and 13CO J = 2–1 emissions from the circumbinary protoplanetary disk around TWA 3A. We jointly fit the protoplanetary disk velocity field, stellar astrometric positions, and stellar radial velocities to infer the architecture of the system. The Aa and Ab stars (0.29 ± 0.01 Me and 0.24 ± 0.01 Me, respectively) comprising the tight (P = 35 days) eccentric (e = 0.63 ± 0.01) spectroscopic binary are coplanar with their circumbinary disk (misalignment <6° with 68% confidence), similar to other short-period binary systems. From models of the spectral energy distribution, we found the inner radius of the circumbinary disk (rinner = 0.50–0.75 au) to be consistent with theoretical predictions of dynamical truncation rcav/ainner ≈ 3. The outer orbit of the tertiary star B (0.40 ± 0.28 Me, a ∼ 65 ± 18 au, e = 0.3 ± 0.2) is not as well constrained as the inner orbit; however, orbits coplanar with the A system are still preferred (misalignment < 20°). To better understand the influence of the B orbit on the TWA 3A circumbinary disk, we performed SPH simulations of the system and found that the outer edge of the gas disk (router = 8.5 ± 0.2 au) is most consistent with truncation from a coplanar, circular, or moderately eccentric orbit, supporting the preference from the joint orbital fit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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