Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Final Growth Phase of Gas Giants

Accretion in giant planet circumplanetary disks


Kieth et el


During the final growth phase of giant planets, accretion is thought to be controlled by a surrounding circumplanetary disk. Current astrophysical accretion disk models rely on hydromagnetic turbulence or gravitoturbulence as the source of effective viscosity within the disk. However, the magnetically-coupled accreting region in these models is so limited that the disk may not support inflow at all radii, or at the required rate. Here, we examine the conditions needed for self-consistent accretion, in which the disk is susceptible to accretion driven by magnetic fields or gravitational instability. We model the disk as a Shakura-Sunyaev α disk and calculate the level of ionisation, the strength of coupling between the field and disk using Ohmic, Hall and Ambipolar diffusevities for both an MRI and vertical field, and the strength of gravitational instability. We find that the standard constant-α disk is only coupled to the field by thermal ionisation within 30RJ with strong magnetic diffusivity prohibiting accretion through the bulk of the midplane. In light of the failure of the constant-α disk to produce accretion consistent with its viscosity we drop the assumption of constant-α and present an alternate model in which α varies radially according to the level magnetic turbulence or gravitoturbulence. We find that a vertical field may drive accretion across the entire disk, whereas MRI can drive accretion out to ∼200RJ, beyond which Toomre's Q=1 and gravitoturbulence dominates. The disks are relatively hot (T≳800K), and consequently massive (Mdisk∼0.5MJ).

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