EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 475, Number 1, November III 2007
Page(s) 51 - 61
Section Astrophysical processes
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20077695

A&A 475, 51-61 (2007)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20077695

Stability and nonlinear adjustment of vortices in Keplerian flows

G. Bodo1, A. Tevzadze2, G. Chagelishvili2, A. Mignone1, 3, P. Rossi1, and A. Ferrari3

1  INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Torino, Strada dell'Osservatorio 20, 10025 Pino Torinese, Italy
    e-mail: bodo@to.astro.it
2  E. Kharadze Georgian National Astrophysical Observatory,, 2a Kazbegi Ave. Tbilisi 0160, Georgia
3  Dipartimento di Fisica Generale dell'Università di Torino, via Pietro Giuria 1, 10125 Torino, Italy

(Received 23 April 2007 / Accepted 27 August 2007)

Aims.We investigate the stability, nonlinear development and equilibrium structure of vortices in a background shearing Keplerian flow
Methods.We make use of high-resolution global two-dimensional compressible hydrodynamic simulations. We introduce the concept of nonlinear adjustment to describe the transition of unbalanced vortical fields to a long-lived configuration.
Results.We discuss the conditions under which vortical perturbations evolve into long-lived persistent structures and we describe the properties of these equilibrium vortices. The properties of equilibrium vortices appear to be independent from the initial conditions and depend only on the local disk parameters. In particular we find that the ratio of the vortex size to the local disk scale height increases with the decrease of the sound speed, reaching values well above the unity. The process of spiral density wave generation by the vortex, discussed in our previous work, appear to maintain its efficiency also at nonlinear amplitudes and we observe the formation of spiral shocks attached to the vortex. The shocks may have important consequences on the long term vortex evolution and possibly on the global disk dynamics.
Conclusions.Our study strengthens the arguments in favor of anticyclonic vortices as the candidates for the promotion of planetary formation. Hydrodynamic shocks that are an intrinsic property of persistent vortices in compressible Keplerian flows are an important contributor to the overall balance. These shocks support vortices against viscous dissipation by generating local potential vorticity and should be responsible for the eventual fate of the persistent anticyclonic vortices. Numerical codes have be able to resolve shock waves to describe the vortex dynamics correctly.

Key words: accretion, accretion disks -- planets and satellites: formation -- hydrodynamics -- methods: numerical

© ESO 2007

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