A JWST inventory of protoplanetary disk ices: The edge-on protoplanetary disk HH 48 NE, seen with the Ice Age ERS program

J. A. Sturm, M. K. McClure, T. L. Beck, D. Harsono, J. B. Bergner, E. Dartois, A. C. A. Boogert, J. E. Chiar, M. A. Cordiner, M. N. Drozdovskaya, S. Ioppolo, C. J. Law, H. Linnartz, D. C. Lis, G. J. Melnick, B. A. McGuire, J. A. Noble, K. I. Öberg, M. E. Palumbo, Y. J. PendletonG. Perotti, K. M. Pontoppidan, D. Qasim, W. R. M. Rocha, H. Terada, R. G. Urso, E. F. van Dishoeck

Research output: Working paper/Preprint Preprint

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Ices are the main carriers of volatiles in protoplanetary disks and are crucial to our understanding of the chemistry that ultimately sets the organic composition of planets. The ERS program Ice Age on the JWST follows the ice evolution through all stages of star and planet formation. JWST/NIRSpec observations of the edge-on Class II protoplanetary disk HH~48~NE reveal spatially resolved absorption features of the major ice components H$_2$O, CO$_2$, CO, and multiple weaker signatures from less abundant ices NH$_3$, OCN$^-$, and OCS. Isotopologue $^{13}$CO$_2$ ice has been detected for the first time in a protoplanetary disk. Since multiple complex light paths contribute to the observed flux, the ice absorption features are filled in by ice-free scattered light. The $^{12}$CO$_2$/$^{13}$CO$_2$ ratio of 14 implies that the $^{12}$CO$_2$ feature is saturated, without the flux approaching 0, indicative of a very high CO$_2$ column density on the line of sight, and a corresponding abundance with respect to hydrogen that is higher than ISM values by a factor of at least a few. Observations of rare isotopologues are crucial, as we show that the $^{13}$CO$_2$ observation allows us to determine the column density of CO$_2$ to be at an order of magnitude higher than the lower limit directly inferred from the observed optical depth. Radial variations in ice abundance, e.g., snowlines, are significantly modified since all observed photons have passed through the full radial extent of the disk. CO ice is observed at perplexing heights in the disk, extending to the top of the CO-emitting gas layer. We argue that the most likely interpretation is that we observe some CO ice at high temperatures, trapped in less volatile ices like H$_2$O and CO$_2$. Future radiative transfer models will be required to constrain the implications on our current understanding of disk physics and chemistry.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2023


  • astro-ph.EP
  • astro-ph.SR


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