eps Aur abstract: Pearson and Stencel

Modeling the Disk in the epsilon Aurigae System: a Brief Review With Proposed Numerical Solutions


Richard L. Pearson, III
Robert E. Stencel

University of Denver, Department of Physics and Astronomy, 2112 E. Wesley Avenue, Denver, CO 80208

Received April 19, 2012; revised July 19, 2012; accepted August 7, 2012


Parameters associated with the opaque disk in epsilon Aurigae are explored in the context of circumstellar and proto-planetary disk theory. The observed blackbody temperatures of the disk, at 550 and 1150 K, are primarily discussed. Brief reviews of previous work are included that describe and attempt to explain this temperature gradient. Heating from only the central B star provides a basal temperature of about 250 K. An accretion rate (from the disk to the B star) of 10–7 MÄ/yr also provides a similar basal temperature; a rate of 1.5 × 10–5 MÄ/yr produces temperatures greater than 3000 K in the disk plane. To include the F star contribution, Monte Carlo radiative transfer tools can be used to examine numerous separation distances between the two stellar components, with the goal of matching the observed and modeled temperatures. An estimation of the distance to epsilon Aurigae can then be extracted. The proposed method is described here.