Observational possibility of the "snow line" on the surface of circumstellar disks with the scattered light

Akio K. Inoue*, Mitsuhiko Honda, Taishi Nakamoto, Akinori Oka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


We discuss how we obtain the spatial distribution of ice on the surface of the circumstellar disk around young stars. Ice in the disks plays a very important role in various issues, for instance, on the disk structure, on planet formation, on an isotopic anomaly in meteorites, and on the origin of the oceans on Earth. Therefore, spatially resolved observations of the condensation/sublimation front of ice, the so-called snow line is strongly required. Here, we propose a new method for obtaining a spatially resolved snow line on circumstellar disks by observing a 3 μm H2O ice feature in the scattered light. Based on radiative transfer considerations, we show that the feature is clearly imprinted in the spectrum of the scattered light from both optically thick and thin circumstellar disks. We also show that the scattered light and the H2O ice feature from protoplanetary disks are detectable and spatially resolvable with current instruments through an H 2O narrowband filter around 3 μm. Finally, we present a diagnostics of disk dust properties on K - H2O and K-L′ two-color diagram.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-563
Number of pages7
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Japan
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Circumstellar matter
  • Dust
  • Extinction
  • Planetary systems: protoplanetary disks
  • Radiative transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Observational possibility of the "snow line" on the surface of circumstellar disks with the scattered light'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this