Sparse aperture masking observations of the FL cha pre-transitional disk

Lucas A. Cieza*, Sylvestre Lacour, Matthias R. Schreiber, Simon Casassus, Andrés Jordán, Geoffrey S. Mathews, Héctor Cánovas, François Ménard, Adam L. Kraus, Sebastián Pérez, Peter Tuthill, Michael J. Ireland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


We present deep Sparse Aperture Masking (SAM) observations obtained with the ESO Very Large Telescope of the pre-transitional disk object FL Cha (SpT = K8, d = 160 pc), the disk of which is known to have a wide optically thin gap separating optically thick inner and outer disk components. We find non-zero closure phases, indicating a significant flux asymmetry in the KS -band emission (e.g., a departure from a single point source detection). We also present radiative transfer modeling of the spectral energy distribution of the FL Cha system and find that the gap extends from 0.06+0.05 - 0.01 AU to 8.3 ± 1.3 AU. We demonstrate that the non-zero closure phases can be explained almost equally well by starlight scattered off the inner edge of the outer disk or by a (sub)stellar companion. Single-epoch, single-wavelength SAM observations of transitional disks with large cavities that could become resolved should thus be interpreted with caution, taking the disk and its properties into consideration. In the context of a binary model, the signal is most consistent with a high-contrast (ΔKS ∼ 4.8 mag) source at a ∼40 mas (6 AU) projected separation. However, the flux ratio and separation parameters remain highly degenerate and a much brighter source (ΔKS ∼ 1 mag) at 15 mas (2.4 AU) can also reproduce the signal. Second-epoch, multi-wavelength observations are needed to establish the nature of the SAM detection in FL Cha.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL12
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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