Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Can Planet Traps Explain Close-in SuperEarth Formation?

Trapping planets in an evolving protoplanetary disk: preferred time, locations and planet mass


Baillié et al


Planet traps are necessary to prevent forming planets from falling onto their host star by type I migration. Surface mass density and temperature gradient irregularities favor the apparition of traps and deserts. Such features are found at the dust sublimation lines and heat transition barriers. We study how planets may remain trapped or escape as they grow and as the disk evolves. We model the temporal viscous evolution of a protoplanetary disk by coupling its dynamics, thermodynamics, geometry and composition. The resulting mid-plane density and temperature profiles allow the modeling of the interactions of such an evolving disk with potential planets, even before the steady state is reached. We follow the viscous evolution of a MMSN and compute the Lindblad and corotation torques that such a disk would exert on potential planets of various masses located within the planetary formation region. We determine the position of planet traps and deserts in relationship with the sublimation lines, shadowed regions and heat transition barriers. Planets that are a few tens of Earth masses can be trapped at the sublimation lines until they reach a certain mass while planets more massive than 100ME can only be trapped permanently at the heat transition barriers. Coupling a bimodal planetary migration model with a self-consistent evolved disk, we were able to distinguish several potential planet populations after 5 million years of evolution: two populations of giant planets that could stay trapped around 5.5 and 9 au and possibly open gaps, some super-Earths trapped around 5 and 7.5 au and a population of close-in super-Earths trapped inside 1 au. The traps corresponding to the last group could help validating the in-situ formation scenarios of the observed close-in super-Earths.

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