Numerical simulations of type III planetary migration
Planets are believed to form in primordial gas-dust discs surrounding newborn stars. An important breakthrough in our understanding of planetary formation was the discovery of extra-solar planets around sun-like stars, especially the frequent occurrence of giant planets on close orbits (hot Jupiters). The mechanisms involved in the formation of these objects remain uncertain, however the difficulties associated with their formation at their observed orbital radius has awoken an interest in theories for the migration of protoplanetary cores due to gravitational interaction with the disc. There are three fundamental regimes of planet migration. The type I and II migration regimes, driven by the differential Lindblad torques, result mostly in inward migration and concern low- and high-mass planets respectively. Type III migration, driven by the co-orbital gas flow, concerns an intermediate range of planetary masses and does not have a predefined direction.In this thesis the orbital evolution of a high-mass, rapidly (type III) migrating planet is investigated using numerical hydrodynamical simulations. For these simulations we used the state-of-the-art hydrodynamics code FLASH. We focus on the physical aspects of type III migration. However, the problem of rapid migration of such massive planets is numerically challenging, and the disc model has to be chosen carefully, using numerical convergence as a discriminator between models (Paper I). We simulate both inward and outward directed migration (Papers II and III) and provide an extensive description of the co-orbital flow responsible for driving the migration, as well as its time evolution. The migration rate due to type III migration is found to be related to the mass of the planet's co-orbital region, making inward and outward directed migration self-decelerating and self-accelerating processes respectively (for a standard disc model). Rapid migration depends strongly on the flow structure in the planet's vicinity, which makes it sensitive to the amount of mass accumulated by the planet as it moves through the disc. This quantity in turn depends on the structure of the accretion region around the planet. The results of the numerical simulations show a good agreement with the analytical formulation of type III migration (Paper IV).
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Physics; Astronomy and astrophysics; planetary system formation; astronomi; Astronomy
Date of Publication:01/01/2008