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D.L. Padgett (SSC), W. Brandner (IFA), K.R. Stapelfeldt (JPL), J.E. Krist (STScI)
We report the results of a Hubble Space Telescope study of circumstellar nebulosity around young stars. Nine T Tauri and Herbig Ae/Be stars at distances ranging from 140 - 400 pc were observed with HST/WFPC2 in an attempt to detect light scattered from circumstellar disks. The selected targets span a range of infrared spectral energy distributions which are thought to represent different evolutionary stages of circumstellar material. Seven of the observed stars have resolved molecular gas disks found via millimeter interferometry. Despite the known presence of large disks and careful subtraction of the stellar point spread function, we were unable to detect circumstellar reflection nebulosity similar to the scattered light disks around GM Aurigae (Stapelfeldt et al. 1997) or Schwartz 82 (Padgett et al. 1999). Possible reasons for the non-detection include observational bias toward face-on disks among known T Tauri stars and strongly forward scattering dust grains within the disks. Other interesting results of our study include the discovery of a microjet from RY Tauri and WFPC2 and NICMOS imaging of the large, variable PV Cephei reflection nebula.
This project was funded by NASA/STScI grant GO-6681.