Several planet-mass companions (PMCs) on wide-orbits have been imaged around young stars (1-10 Myr). Their estimated mass is just around the brown dwarf to giant planet transition (~13 Jupiter masses), which makes them especially interesting for both star and planet formation theories. Several formation scenarios exist, but none of them can explain all properties of the currently known PMCs. There are strong theoretical reasons to expect disks around PMCs, and indirect evidence for disks around PMCs from optical and near-infrared emission exists. However, attempts to detect the dust and gas emission of the disk directly have been unsuccessful. The high sensitivity of JWST MIRI will allow detecting disks with sizes smaller than one au, masses as low 1/10000 of a Jupiter mass and will provide first constraints on the solid and gas composition of disks around PMCs. We propose to observe the PMC CT Cha b with the MIRI spectrograph to detect the dust and gas emission (water lines) of its disk. Those results allow for a comparison to the composition of the primary disk of CT Cha, which is observed simultaneously, and to observations of protoplanetary disks, providing new constraints for possible differences in disk evolution. Those observations, together with forthcoming complementary ALMA observations, will put stringent limits on the mass and size of the companion's disk; quantities most relevant for PMC formation theories and spin-evolution studies. The proposed program will be a big step forward for our understanding of the mysterious nature of wide-orbit planet-mass companions and will serve as a pioneering study for future JWST surveys of PMCs.
|Type||JWST Proposal. Cycle 1, ID. #1958|
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 1-Mar-2021|