Journal Article

Outward migration of a giant planet with a gravitationally unstable gap edge

Min-Kai Lin and John C. B. Papaloizou

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 421, issue 1, pages 780-788
Published in print March 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Outward migration of a giant planet with a gravitationally unstable gap edge

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We present numerical simulations of disc–planet interactions where the planet opens a gravitationally unstable gap in an otherwise gravitationally stable disc. In our disc models, where the outer gap edge can be unstable to global spiral modes, we find that as we increase the surface density scale the gap becomes more unstable and the planet migrates outwards more rapidly. We show that the positive torque is provided by material brought into the planet’s co-orbital region by the spiral arms. This material is expected to execute horseshoe turns upon approaching the planet and hence torque it. Our results suggest that standard type II migration, applicable to giant planets in non-self-gravitating viscous discs, is likely to be significantly modified in massive discs when gravitational instabilities associated with the gap occur.

Keywords: hydrodynamics; methods: numerical; protoplanetary discs; planetary systems

Journal Article.  6135 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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