The effect of MHD turbulence on massive protoplanetary disk fragmentation
Astronomy Unit, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK
2 Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 98bis Bd. Arago, 75014 Paris, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 6 June 2005
Massive disk fragmentation has been suggested to be one of the mechanisms leading to the formation of giant planets. While it has been heavily studied in quiescent hydrodynamic disks, the effect of MHD turbulence arising from the magnetorotational instability (MRI) has never been investigated. This paper fills this gap and presents 3D numerical simulations of the evolution of locally isothermal, massive and magnetized disks. In the absence of magnetic fields, a laminar disk fragments and clumps are formed due to the effect of self-gravity. Although they disapear in less than a dynamical timescale in the simulations because of the limited numerical resolution, various diagnostics suggest that they should survive and form giant planets in real disks. When the disk is magnetized, it becomes turbulent at the same time as gravitational instabilities develop. At intermediate resolution, no fragmentation is observed in these turbulent models, while a large number of fragments appear in the equivalent hydrodynamical runs. This is because MHD turbulence reduces the strength of the gravitational instability. As the resolution is increased, the most unstable wavelengths of the MRI are better resolved and small scale angular momentum transport starts to play a role: fragments are found to form in massive and turbulent disks in that case. All of these results indicate that there is a complicated interaction between gravitational instabilities and MHD turbulence that influences disk fragmentation processes.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / methods: numerical / stars: planetary system: formation
© ESO, 2005