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A desert of gas giant planets beyond tens of au: from feast to famine

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posted on 2018-01-25, 11:53 authored by Sergei Nayakshin
It is argued that frequency of gravitational fragmentation of young massive discs around FGK stars may be much higher than commonly believed. Numerical simulations presented here show that survival of gas giant planets at large separations from their host stars is very model dependent. Low-mass clumps in slowly cooling discs are found to accrete gas very slowly and migrate inward very rapidly in the well-known type I regime (no gap open). They are either tidally disrupted or survive as planets inwards of about 10 au. In this regime, probability of clump survival at large separations is extremely low, perhaps as low as 0.001, requiring up to a dozen clumps per star early on to explain the observed population. In contrast, initially massive clumps or low-mass clumps born in rapidly cooling discs accrete gas rapidly. Opening deep gaps in the disc, they migrate in the much slower type II regime and are more likely to survive beyond tens of au. The frequency of disc fragmentation in this case is at the per cent level if the clump growth saturates at brown dwarf masses but may be close to 100 per cent if clumps evolve into low stellar mass companions. Taking these theoretical uncertainties into account, current observations limit the number of planet mass clumps hatched by young massive discs around FGK stars to between 0.01 and ∼10. A deeper theoretical understanding of such discs is needed to narrow this uncertainty down.



Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2017, 470 (2), pp. 2387–2409

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Physics and Astronomy


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