Hiding Signatures of Gravitational Instability in Protoplanetary Disks with Planets

Sahl Rowther, Farzana Meru, Grant M. Kennedy, Rebecca Nealon, Christophe Pinte

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9 Citations (Scopus)


We carry out three-dimensional smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations to show that a migrating giant planet strongly suppresses the spiral structure in self-gravitating disks. We present mock Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) continuum observations that show that in the absence of a planet, spiral arms due to gravitational instability are easily observed. Whereas in the presence of a giant planet, the spiral structures are suppressed by the migrating planet resulting in a largely axisymmetric disk with a ring and gap structure. Our modeling of the gas kinematics shows that the planet's presence could be inferred, for example, using optically thin 13C16O. Our results show that it is not necessary to limit the gas mass of disks by assuming high dust-to-gas mass ratios in order to explain a lack of spiral features that would otherwise be expected in high-mass disks.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL18
Number of pages7
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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