Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hot Start Giant Planets Form With Radiative Interiors

Hot Start Giant Planets Form With Radiative Interiors


Berardo et al

In the hot-start core accretion formation model for gas giants, the interior of a planet is usually assumed to be fully convective. By calculating the detailed internal evolution of a planet assuming hot start outer boundary conditions, we show that such a planet will in fact form with a radially increasing internal entropy profile, so that its interior will be radiative instead of convective. For a hot outer boundary, there is a minimum value for the entropy of the internal adiabat Smin below which the accreting envelope does not match smoothly onto the interior, but instead deposits high entropy material onto the growing interior. One implication of this would be to at least temporarily halt the mixing of heavy elements within the planet, which are deposited by planetesimals accreted during formation. The compositional gradient this would impose could subsequently disrupt convection during post-accretion cooling, which would alter the observed cooling curve of the planet. However even with a homogeneous composition, for which convection develops as the planet cools, the difference in cooling timescale will change the inferred mass of directly-imaged gas giants.

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