Saturday, November 18, 2017

Vortex stretching in self-gravitating protoplanetary discs

Vortex stretching in self-gravitating protoplanetary discs 
Regaly et al 
Horseshoe-shaped brightness asymmetries of several transitional discs are thought to be caused by large-scale vortices. Anticyclonic vortices are efficiently collect dust particles, therefore they can play a major role in planet formation. Former studies suggest that the disc self-gravity weakens vortices formed at the edge of the gap opened by a massive planet in discs whose masses are in the range of 0.01 less than M_disc/M_* less than 0.1. Here we present an investigation on the long-term evolution of the large-scale vortices formed at the viscosity transition of the discs' dead zone outer edge by means of two-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations taking disc self-gravity into account. We perform a numerical study of low mass, 0.001 less than M_disc/M_* less than 0.01, discs, for which cases disc self-gravity was previously neglected. The large-scale vortices are found to be stretched due to disc self-gravity even for low-mass discs with M_disc/M_*>=0.005 where initially the Toomre Q-parameter was less than or equal 50 at the vortex distance. As a result of stretching, the vortex aspect ratio increases and a weaker azimuthal density contrast develops. The strength of the vortex stretching is proportional to the disc mass. The vortex stretching can be explained by a combined action of a non-vanishing gravitational torque caused by the vortex, and the Keplerian shear of the disc. Self-gravitating vortices are subject to significantly faster decay than non-self-gravitating ones. We found that vortices developed at sharp viscosity transitions of self-gravitating discs can be described by a GNG model as long as the disc viscosity is low, i.e. alpha_dz less than or equal to 10^-5.

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