MagAO-X and HST High-contrast Imaging of the AS209 Disk at Hα

Gabriele Cugno, Yifan Zhou, Thanawuth Thanathibodee, Per Calissendorff, Michael R. Meyer, Suzan Edwards, Jaehan Bae, Myriam Benisty, Edwin Bergin, Matthew De Furio, Stefano Facchini, Jared R. Males, Laird M. Close, Richard D. Teague, Olivier Guyon, Sebastiaan Y. Haffert, Alexander D. Hedglen, Maggie Kautz, Andrés Izquierdo, Joseph D. LongJennifer Lumbres, Avalon L. McLeod, Logan A. Pearce, Lauren Schatz, Kyle Van Gorkom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The detection of emission lines associated with accretion processes is a direct method for studying how and where gas giant planets form, how young planets interact with their natal protoplanetary disk, and how volatile delivery to their atmosphere takes place. Hα (λ = 0.656 μm) is expected to be the strongest accretion line observable from the ground with adaptive optics systems, and is therefore the target of specific high-contrast imaging campaigns. We present MagAO-X and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) data obtained to search for Hα emission from the previously detected protoplanet candidate orbiting AS209, identified through Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array observations. No signal was detected at the location of the candidate, and we provide limits on its accretion. Our data would have detected an Hα emission with F > 2.5 ± 0.3 × 10−16 erg s−1 cm−2, a factor 6.5 lower than the HST flux measured for PDS70 b. The flux limit indicates that if the protoplanet is currently accreting it is likely that local extinction from circumstellar and circumplanetary material strongly attenuates its emission at optical wavelengths. In addition, the data reveal the first image of the jet north of the star as expected from previous detections of forbidden lines. Finally, this work demonstrates that current ground-based observations with extreme adaptive optics systems can be more sensitive than space-based observations, paving the way to the hunt for small planets in reflected light with extremely large telescopes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number162
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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