Volume 565, May 2014
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||29 May 2014|
Sizes of protoplanetary discs after star-disc encounters⋆
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie,
Auf dem Hügel 69,
Received: 13 November 2013
Accepted: 28 March 2014
Most stars do not form in isolation, but as part of a star cluster or association. These young stars are initially surrounded by protoplanetary discs. In these cluster environments tidal interactions with other cluster members can alter the disc properties. Besides the disc frequency, its mass, angular momentum, and energy, the disc’s size is particularly prone to being changed by a passing star. So far the change in disc size has only been investigated for a small number of very specific encounters. Several studies investigated the effect of the cluster environment on the sizes of planetary systems like our own solar system, based on a generalisation of information from this limited sample. We performed numerical simulations covering the wide parameter space typical of young star clusters, to test the validity of this approach. Here the sizes of discs after encounters are presented, based on a size definition that is comparable to the one used in observational studies. We find that, except for encounters between equal-mass stars, the usually applied estimates are insufficient. They tend to severely overestimate the remaining disc size. We show that the disc size after an encounter can be described by a relatively simple dependence on the periastron distance and the mass ratio of the encounter partners. This knowledge allows us, for example, to pin down the types of encounter possibly responsible for the structure of today’s solar system.
Key words: protoplanetary disks / planets and satellites: formation / galaxies: star clusters: general
Appendix A is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2014
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