Volume 630, October 2019
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||23 September 2019|
Inner rocky super-Earth formation: distinguishing the formation pathways in viscously heated and passive discs
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie,
Accepted: 19 August 2019
Observations have revealed that super-Earths (planets up to 10 Earth masses) are the most abundant type of planets in the inner systems. Their formation is strongly linked to the structure of the protoplanetary disc, which determines growth and migration. In the pebble accretion scenario, planets grow to the pebble isolation mass, at which the planet carves a small gap in the gas disc halting the pebble flux and thus its growth. The pebble isolation mass scales with the disc’s aspect ratio, which directly depends on the heating source of the protoplanetary disc. I compare the growth of super-Earths in viscously heated discs, where viscous heating dissipates within the first million years, and discs purely heated by the central star with super-Earth observations from the Kepler mission. This allows two formation pathways of super-Earths to be distinguished in the inner systems within this framework. Planets growing within 1 Myr in the viscously heated inner disc reach pebble isolation masses that correspond directly to the inferred masses of the Kepler observations for systems that feature planets in resonance or not in resonance. However, to explain the period ratio distribution of Kepler planets – where most Kepler planet pairs are not in mean motion resonance configurations – a fraction of these resonant chains has to be broken. In case the planets are born early in a viscously heated disc, these resonant chains thus have to be broken without planetary mergers, for example through the magnetic rebound effect, and the final system architecture should feature low mutual inclinations. If super-Earths form either late or in purely passive discs, the pebble isolation mass is too small (around 2–3 Earth masses) to explain the Kepler observations, implying that planetary mergers have to play a significant role in determining the final system architecture. Resonant planetary systems thus have to experience mergers already during the gas disc phase, so the planets can get trapped in resonance after reaching 5–10 Earth masses. In case instabilities are dominating the system architecture, the systems should not be flat, but feature mutually inclined orbits. This implies that future observations of planetary systems with radial velocities (RV) and transits (for example through the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and its follow up RV surveys) could distinguish between these two formation channels of super-Earth and thus constrain planet formation theories.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / planets and satellites: formation / protoplanetary disks / planet-disk interactions
© B. Bitsch 2019
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Open Access funding provided by Max Planck Society.
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