University of Cambridge > > DAMTP Astrophysics Seminar > Giant planet formation in radially structured discs

Giant planet formation in radially structured discs

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr. Yufeng Lin.

Observations have demonstrated the existence of a significant population of compact systems comprised of super-Earths and Neptune-mass planets, and a population of gas giants that appear to occur primarily in either short-period (%<%10 days) or longer period (>100 days) orbits. The broad diversity of system architectures raises the question of whether or not the same formation processes operating in standard disc models can explain these planets, or if different scenarios are required instead to explain the widely differing architectures. To explore this issue, we present recent results from a comprehensive suite of N-body simulations of planetary system formation that include the following physical processes: N-body interactions between planetary embryos and planetesimals; type I and II migration; gas accretion onto planetary cores; self-consistent viscous disc evolution and disc removal through photo-evaporation. Results indicate that the formation and survival of compact systems of super-Earths and Neptune-mass planets occur commonly in disc models where a simple prescription for the disc viscosity is assumed, but such models never lead to the formation and survival of gas giant planets due to migration into the star. Inspired in part by the ALMA observations of HL Tau, and by MHD simulations that display the formation of long-lived zonal flows, we have explored the consequences of assuming that the disc viscosity varies in both time and space. We find that the radial structuring of the disc leads to conditions in which systems of giant planets are able to form and survive. Furthermore, these giants generally occupy those regions of the mass-period diagram that are densely populated by the observed gas giants, suggesting that the planet traps generated by radial structuring of protoplanetary discs may be a necessary ingredient for forming giant planets.

This talk is part of the DAMTP Astrophysics Seminar series.

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