Dynamics of pebbles in the vicinity of a growing planetary embryo: hydro-dynamical simulations
Dep. Lagrange, UNSA, CNRS, OCA,
Nice Cedex 4,
2 Dept. of Space Sudies, SwRI, Boulder, CO, USA
Received: 15 June 2012
Accepted: 25 August 2012
Context. Understanding the growth of the cores of giant planets is a difficult problem. Recently, Lambrechts & Johansen (2012, A&A, 544, A32, LJ12) proposed a new model in which the cores grow by the accretion of pebble-size objects, as the latter drift towards the star due to gas drag.
Aims. We investigate the dynamics of pebble-size objects in the vicinity of planetary embryos of 1 and 5 Earth masses and the resulting accretion rates.
Methods. We use hydrodynamical simulations, in which the embryo influences the dynamics of the gas and the pebbles suffer gas drag according to the local gas density and velocities.
Results. The pebble dynamics in the vicinity of the planetary embryo is non-trivial, and it changes significantly with the pebble size. Nevertheless, the accretion rate of the embryo that we measure is within an order of magnitude of the rate estimated in LJ12 and tends to their value with increasing pebble-size.
Conclusions. The model by LJ12 has the potential to explain the rapid growth of giant planet cores. The actual accretion rates however, depend on the surface density of pebble size objects in the disk, which is unknown to date.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / hydrodynamics / planets and satellites: formation
© ESO, 2012