Saving Planetary Systems: Dead Zones and Planetary Migration Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The tidal interaction between a disk and a planet leads to the planet's migration. A long-standing question regarding this mechanism is how to stop the migration before planets plunge into their central stars. In this paper, we propose a new, simple mechanism to significantly slow down planet migration, and test the possibility by using a hybrid numerical integrator to simulate the disk-planet interaction. The key component of the scenario is the role of low viscosity regions in protostellar disks known as dead zones, which affect planetary migration in two ways. First of all, it allows a smaller-mass planet to open a gap, and hence switch the faster type I migration to the slower type II migration. Secondly, a low viscosity slows down type II migration itself, because type II migration is directly proportional to the viscosity. We present numerical simulations of planetary migration by using a hybrid symplectic integrator-gas dynamics code. Assuming that the disk viscosity parameter inside the dead zone is (alpha=1e-4-1e-5), we find that, when a low-mass planet (e.g. 1-10 Earth masses) migrates from outside the dead zone, its migration is stopped due to the mass accumulation inside the dead zone. When a low-mass planet migrates from inside the dead zone, it opens a gap and slows down its migration. A massive planet like Jupiter, on the other hand, opens a gap and slows down inside the dead zone, independent of its initial orbital radius. The final orbital radius of a Jupiter mass planet depends on the dead zone's viscosity. For the range of alpha's noted above, this can vary anywhere from 7 AU, to an orbital radius of 0.1 AU that is characteristic of the hot Jupiters.

publication date

  • May 10, 2007