Gaps and rings carved by vortices in protoplanetary dust
1 Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille, UMR 7326, 13388 Marseille, France
2 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
3 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, PO Box 0, Socorro, NM 87801, USA
4 Astrophysics Group, Cavendish Laboratory, JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK
Received: 17 October 2016
Accepted: 21 June 2017
Context. Large-scale vortices in protoplanetary disks are thought to form and survive for long periods of time. Hence, they can significantly change the global disk evolution and particularly the distribution of the solid particles embedded in the gas, possibly explaining asymmetries and dust concentrations recently observed at submillimeter and millimeter wavelengths.
Aims. We investigate the spatial distribution of dust grains using a simple model of protoplanetary disk hosted by a giant gaseous vortex. We explore the dependence of the results on grain size and deduce possible consequences and predictions for observations of the dust thermal emission at submillimeter and millimeter wavelengths.
Methods. Global 2D simulations with a bi-fluid code are used to follow the evolution of a single population of solid particles aerodynamically coupled to the gas. Possible observational signatures of the dust thermal emission are obtained using simulators of ALMA and Nest Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) observations.
Results. We find that a giant vortex not only captures dust grains with Stokes number St< 1 but can also affect the distribution of larger grains (with St ~ 1) carving a gap associated with a ring composed of incompletely trapped particles. The results are presented for different particle sizes and associated with their possible signatures in disk observations.
Conclusions. Gap clearing in the dust spatial distribution could be due to the interaction with a giant gaseous vortex and their associated spiral waves without the gravitational assistance of a planet. Hence, strong dust concentrations at short sub-mm wavelengths associated with a gap and an irregular ring at longer mm and cm wavelengths could indicate the presence of an unseen gaseous vortex.
Key words: protoplanetary disks / methods: numerical / hydrodynamics / submillimeter: general
© ESO, 2017