EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 471, Number 3, September I 2007
Page(s) 1043 - 1055
Section Planets and planetary systems
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20077169

A&A 471, 1043-1055 (2007)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20077169

Vortex generation in protoplanetary disks with an embedded giant planet

M. de Val-Borro1, 2, P. Artymowicz3, 2, G. D'Angelo4, and A. Peplinski2

1  Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
    e-mail: mdeval@cfa.harvard.edu
2  Stockholm University, AlbaNova University Center, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
3  University of Toronto at Scarborough, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4, Canada
4  NASA-ARC, Space Science and Astrobiology Division, MS 245-3, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA

(Received 25 January 2007 / Accepted 18 June 2007 )

Context.Vortices in protoplanetary disks can capture solid particles and form planetary cores within shorter timescales than those involved in the standard core-accretion model.
Aims.We investigate vortex generation in thin unmagnetized protoplanetary disks with an embedded giant planet with planet to star mass ratio 10-4 and 10-3.
Methods.Two-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations of a protoplanetary disk with a planet are performed using two different numerical methods. The results of the non-linear simulations are compared with a time-resolved modal analysis of the azimuthally averaged surface density profiles using linear perturbation theory.
Results.Finite-difference methods implemented in polar coordinates generate vortices moving along the gap created by Neptune-mass to Jupiter-mass planets. The modal analysis shows that unstable modes are generated with growth rate of order $0.3
\Omega_{{\rm K}}$ for azimuthal numbers m=4,5,6, where $\Omega_{{\rm K}}$ is the local Keplerian frequency. Shock-capturing Cartesian-grid codes do not generate very much vorticity around a giant planet in a standard protoplanetary disk. Modal calculations confirm that the obtained radial profiles of density are less susceptible to the growth of linear modes on timescales of several hundreds of orbital periods. Navier-Stokes viscosity of the order $\nu=10^{-5}$ (in units of $a^2 \Omega_{{\rm p}}$) is found to have a stabilizing effect and prevents the formation of vortices. This result holds at high resolution runs and using different types of boundary conditions.
Conclusions.Giant protoplanets of Neptune-mass to Jupiter-mass can excite the Rossby wave instability and generate vortices in thin disks. The presence of vortices in protoplanetary disks has implications for planet formation, orbital migration, and angular momentum transport in disks.

Key words: planet and satellites: general -- accretion, accretion disks -- hydrodynamics -- instabilities -- methods: numerical

© ESO 2007

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