The Determination of Protoplanetary Disk Masses

  • Edwin A. Bergin
  • Jonathan P. Williams
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 445)


In this article we introduce methods used to determine the gas and dust masses of protoplanetary disks, with an emphasis on the lesser characterized total gas mass . Our review encompasses all the indirect tracers and the methodology that is being used to isolate the hidden H2 via dust, CO, and HD emission . We discuss the overall calibration of gaseous tracers which is based on decades of study of the dense phases of the interstellar medium . At present, disk gas masses determined via CO and HD are (in a few instances) different by orders of magnitude, hinting at either significant evolution in total disk mass or in the CO abundance . Either of these would represent a fundamental physical or chemical process that appears to dominate the system on ∼ million year timescales. Efforts to reconcile these differences using existing and future facilities are discussed.



EAB was supported by funding from the National Science Foundation grant AST-1514670 and AST-1344133 (INSPIRE) along with NASA XRP grant NNX16AB48G. Reflective of taking the minority stance, JPW is supported only by NASA grant NNX15AC92G and Hawaiian aloha. We thank the editors, Oliver and Martin, for their hard work in making this book happen and gently but constantly pushing us to write this manuscript.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AstronomyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Institute for AstronomyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

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