Sunday, November 20, 2016



Flock et al


Many stars host planets orbiting within a few astronomical units (AU). The occurrence rate and distributions of masses and orbits vary greatly with the host star's mass. These close planets' origins are a mystery that motivates investigating protoplanetary disks' central regions. A key factor governing the conditions near the star is the silicate sublimation front, which largely determines where the starlight is absorbed, and which is often called the inner rim. We present the first radiation hydrodynamical modeling of the sublimation front in the disks around the young intermediate-mass stars called Herbig Ae stars. The models are axisymmetric and include starlight heating; silicate grains sublimating and condensing to equilibrium at the local, time-dependent temperature and density; and accretion stresses parameterizing the results of MHD magnetorotational turbulence models. The results compare well with radiation hydrostatic solutions and prove to be dynamically stable. Passing the model disks into Monte Carlo radiative transfer calculations, we show that the models satisfy observational constraints on the inner rim's location. A small optically thin halo of hot dust naturally arises between the inner rim and the star. The inner rim has a substantial radial extent, corresponding to several disk scale heights. While the front's overall position varies with the stellar luminosity, its radial extent depends on the mass accretion rate. A pressure maximum develops near the location of thermal ionization at temperatures of about 1000 K. The pressure maximum is capable of halting solid pebbles' radial drift and concentrating them in a zone where temperatures are sufficiently high for annealing to form crystalline silicates.

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