Journal Article

The vertical structure of planet-induced gaps in protoplanetary discs

Richard G. Edgar and Alice C. Quillen

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 387, issue 1, pages 387-396
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The vertical structure of planet-induced gaps in protoplanetary discs

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Giant planets embedded in circumstellar discs are expected to open gaps in these discs. We examine the vertical structure of the gap edges. We find that the planet excites spiral arms with significant (Mach number of a half) vertical motion of the gas, and discuss the implications of these motions. In particular, the spiral arms will make the edge appear ‘puffed up’ relative to the bulk of the disc. Infrared observations (sensitive to dust) would be dominated by the light from the thick inner edge of the disc. Submillimetre observations (sensitive to gas velocities) would appear to be hot in ‘turbulent’ motions (actually the ordered motion caused by the passage of the spiral arms), but cold in chemistry. Resolved submillimetre maps of circumstellar discs might even be able to detect the spiral arms directly.

Keywords: planetary systems: protoplanetary discs

Journal Article.  6990 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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