Planet Formation Group
Astrophysics Department, School of Physics, University of Bristol

Planet Formation Group: Jack Dobinson

Transitional disks are characterised by a flux deficit in the near-infrared wavelengths with respect to a classical protoplanetary disk, but otherwise have similar spectral energy distributions. The accepted explanation is a lack of optically thick material in the inner disk, implying a hole or large gap.

There are a number of mechanisms that can explain the removal of material from the interior of the disk. However, the aim of my work is to find a single marker that would imply a planetary origin of the gap. This is achieved by numerical simulations of an embedded planet upon the background planetesimal population. Zones of enhanced collision frequency are observed around the planets orbit and at low order resonances. Therefore, it is suggested that a hole or gap coupled with dust enhancement is due to the presence of a planetary companion.

Disk Matrix

Surface density (top two rows) and flux density (bottom two rows) of a 3.8 AU wide disk with an embedded Jupiter mass planet with a = 2.8 AU. Fixed mass simulations (top row) have a lower particle count due to numerical reasons, this is countered by growing the planet from 15 earth masses initially as shown in growing mass frames (second row). The third row uses the thin disk approximation and the fourth the RADMC3D code to solve the radiative transfer equations without assuming a thin disk. The columns group the planet by eccentricity. The first column uses the 'rubble' collision model and the rest use the 'perfect merging' collision model.