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The Astrophysical Journal


The American Astronomical Society


We present a comparison of CO fundamental rovibrational lines (observed in the M band near 4.7 μm) from the inner circumstellar disks around the Herbig AeBe stars AB Aur and HD 141569. The CO spatial profiles and temperatures constrain the location of the gas for both stars to a distance of less than 50 AU. The CO emission from the disk of the ~4 Myr star AB Aur shows at least two temperature components, the inner disk at a rotational temperature of 1540 ± 80 K and the outer disk at 70 ± 10 K. The hot gas is located near the hot bright inner rim of the disk and the cold gas is located in the outer disk from 8-50 AU. The relative intensities of low-J lines suggest that the cold gas is optically thick. The excitation of CO in both temperature regimes is dominated by infrared fluorescence (resonant scattering). In the more evolved disk around HD 141569, the CO is excited by UV fluorescence. The relative intensity of the CO emission lines implies a rotational temperature of 190 ± 30 K. The resulting column density is ~ 1011 cm-2, indicating approximately 1019 g of CO. The observed line profiles indicate that the inner disk has been cleared of CO gas by stellar radiation out to a minimum of 17 AU. The residual mass of CO suggests that the inner disk of HD 141569 is not in an active phase of planet building but it does not rule out the possibility that giant planet building has previously occurred.