Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Carbon Monoxide Snowline in Protoplanetary Disks

On the evolution of the CO snow line in protoplanetary disks


Martin et al


CO is thought to be a vital building block for prebiotic molecules that are necessary for life. Thus, understanding where CO existed in a solid phase within the solar nebula is important for understanding the origin of life. We model the evolution of the CO snow line in a protoplanetary disk. We find that the current observed location of the CO snow line in our solar system, and in the solar system analogue TW Hydra, cannot be explained by a fully turbulent disk model. With time-dependent disk models we find that the inclusion of a dead zone (a region of low turbulence) can resolve this problem. Furthermore, we obtain a fully analytic solution for the CO snow line radius for late disk evolutionary times. This will be useful for future observational attempts to characterize the demographics and predict the composition and habitability of exoplanets.

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