Letter to the Editor
Why do protoplanetary disks appear not massive enough to form the known exoplanet population?
European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, Garching bei München, 85748 Germany
2 Laboratoire Lagrange, Université Côte d’Azur, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, CNRS, Boulevard de l’Observatoire, Garching bei München, CS 34229, 06304, Nice Cedex 4, France
Accepted: 19 September 2018
When and how planets form in protoplanetary disks is still a topic of discussion. Exoplanet detection surveys and protoplanetary disk surveys are now providing results that are leading to new insights. We collect the masses of confirmed exoplanets and compare their dependence on stellar mass with the same dependence for protoplanetary disk masses measured in ∼1–3 Myr old star-forming regions. We recalculated the disk masses using the new estimates of their distances derived from Gaia DR2 parallaxes. We note that single and multiple exoplanetary systems form two different populations, probably pointing to a different formation mechanism for massive giant planets around very low-mass stars. While expecting that the mass in exoplanetary systems is much lower than the measured disk masses, we instead find that exoplanetary systems masses are comparable or higher than the most massive disks. This same result is found by converting the measured planet masses into heavy element content (core masses for the giant planets and full masses for the super-Earth systems) and by comparing this value with the disk dust masses. Unless disk dust masses are heavily underestimated, this is a big conundrum. An extremely efficient recycling of dust particles in the disk cannot solve this conundrum. This implies that either the cores of planets have formed very rapidly (<0.1–1 Myr) and a large amount of gas is expelled on the same timescales from the disk, or that disks are continuously replenished by fresh planet-forming material from the environment. These hypotheses can be tested by measuring disk masses in even younger targets and by better understanding if and how the disks are replenished by their surroundings.
Key words: planets and satellites: formation / protoplanetary disks / surveys
© ESO 2018