The growth and migration of Jovian planets in evolving protostellar disks with dead zones

Soko Matsumura, Ralph E. Pudritz, Edward W. Thommes

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    44 Citations (Scopus)


    The growth of Jovian mass planets during migration in their protoplanetary disks is one of the most important problems that needs to be solved in light of observations of the small orbital radii of exosolar planets. Studies of the migration of planets in standard gas disk models routinely show that the migration speeds are too high to form Jovian planets, and that such migrating planetary cores generally plunge into their central stars in less than a million years. In previous work, we have shown that a poorly ionized, less viscous region in a protoplanetary disk called a dead zone slows down the migration of fixed-mass planets. In this paper, we extend our numerical calculations to include dead zone evolution along with the disk, as well as planet formation via accretion of rocky and gaseous materials. Using our symplectic integrator-gas dynamics code, we find that dead zones, even in evolving disks wherein planets grow by accretion as they migrate, still play a fundamental role in saving planetary systems. We demonstrate that Jovian planets form within 2.5 Myr for disks that are 10 times more massive than a minimum-mass solar nebula (MMSN) with an opacity reduction and without slowing down migration artificially. Our simulations indicate that protoplanetary disks with an initial mass comparable to the MMSN only produce Neptunian mass planets. We also find that planet migration does not help core accretion as much in the oligarchic planetesimal-accretion scenario as was expected in the runaway planetesimal-accretion scenario. Therefore, we expect that an opacity reduction (or some other mechanisms) is needed to solve the formation timescale problem even for migrating protoplanets, as long as we consider the oligarchic growth. We also point out a possible role of a dead zone in explaining long-lived, strongly accreting gas disks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1764-1779
    Number of pages16
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009


    • accretion
    • accretion disks
    • planetary systems : formation
    • planetary system: protoplanetary disks
    • planets and satellites: general
    • solar system: formation
    • stars: pre-main sequence


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