Volume 627, July 2019
|Number of page(s)
|Planets and planetary systems
|11 July 2019
Connecting planet formation and astrochemistry
Refractory carbon depletion leading to super-stellar C/O in giant planetary atmospheres
Leiden Observatory, Leiden University,
RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Accepted: 30 January 2019
Combining a time-dependent astrochemical model with a model of planet formation and migration, we compute the carbon-to-oxygen ratio (C/O) of a range of planetary embryos starting their formation in the inner solar system (1–3 AU). Most of the embryos result in hot Jupiters (M ≥ MJ, orbital radius <0.1 AU) while the others result in super-Earths at wider orbital radii. The volatile and ice abundance of relevant carbon and oxygen bearing molecular species are determined through a complex chemical kinetic code that includes both gas and grain surface chemistry. This is combined with a model for the abundance of the refractory dust grains to compute the total carbon and oxygen abundance in the protoplanetary disk available for incorporation into a planetary atmosphere. We include the effects of the refractory carbon depletion that has been observed in our solar system, and posit two models that would put this missing carbon back into the gas phase. This excess gaseous carbon then becomes important in determining the final planetary C/O because the gas disk now becomes more carbon rich relative to oxygen (high gaseous C/O). One model, where the carbon excess is maintained throughout the lifetime of the disk results in hot Jupiters that have super-stellar C/O. The other model deposits the excess carbon early in the disk life and allows it to advect with the bulk gas. In this model the excess carbon disappears into the host star within 0.8 Myr, returning the gas disk to its original (substellar) C/O, so the hot Jupiters all exclusively have substellar C/O. This shows that while the solids tend to be oxygen rich, hot Jupiters can have super-stellar C/O if a carbon excess can be maintained by some chemical processing of the dust grains. The atmospheric C/O of the super-Earths at larger radii are determined by the chemical interactions between the gas and ice phases of volatile species rather than the refractory carbon model. Whether the carbon and oxygen content of the atmosphere was accreted primarily by gas or solid accretion is heavily dependent on the mass of the atmosphere and where in the disk the growing planet accreted.
Key words: planets and satellites: atmospheres / planets and satellites: composition / planets and satellites: gaseous planets / protoplanetary disks / planets and satellites: formation
© ESO 2019
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