Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tatooine Nurseries

Tatooine Nurseries: Structure and Evolution of Circumbinary Protoplanetary Disks


Vartanyan et al


Recent discoveries of circumbinary planets by Kepler mission provide motivation for understanding their birthplaces - protoplanetary disks around stellar binaries with separations less than 1 AU. We explore properties and evolution of such circumbinary disks focusing on modification of their structure caused by tidal coupling to the binary. We develop a set of analytical scaling relations describing viscous evolution of the disk properties, which are verified and calibrated using 1D numerical calculations with realistic inputs. Injection of angular momentum by the central binary suppresses mass accretion onto the binary and causes radial distribution of the viscous angular momentum flux F_J to be different from that in a standard accretion disk around a single star with no torque at the center. Disks with no mass accretion at the center develop F_J profile which is flat in radius. Radial profiles of temperature and surface density are also quite different from those in disks around single stars. Damping of the density waves driven by the binary and viscous dissipation dominate heating of the inner disk (within 1-2 AU), pushing the iceline beyond 3-5 AU, depending on disk mass and age. Irradiation by the binary governs disk thermodynamics beyond ~10 AU. However, self-shadowing by the hot inner disk may render central illumination irrelevant out to ~20 AU. Spectral energy distribution of a circumbinary disk exhibits a distinctive bump around 10 micron, which may facilitate identification of such disks around unresolved binaries. Efficient tidal coupling to the disk drives orbital inspiral of the binary and may cause low-mass and compact binaries to merge into a single star within the disk lifetime. We generally find that circumbinary disks present favorable sites for planet formation (despite wider zone of volatile depletion), in agreement with the statistics of Kepler circumbinary planets.

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