New supercomputer simulations show that after creating a ring on a gas disk Around a young star, a planet can drift away and leave the ring behind.
According to the researchers, this not only reinforces the planet's theory for ring formation. The simulations show that a planet in migration it can produce a variety of patterns that match what is actually seen on discs.
The stars young are surrounded by protoplanetary disks of gas and dust. One of the most powerful radio telescope arrays in the world, ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array), has observed a variety of denser and less dense ring and hole patterns in these protoplanetary disks.
The gravitational effects of the planets that form in the disk are a theory to explain these structuresBut follow-up observations looking for planets near the rings have largely been unsuccessful.
In this research, a team from the Ibaraki University, Kogakuin University and Tohoku University on Japan used the world's most powerful supercomputer dedicated to astronomy, ATERUI II at Japan's National Astronomical Observatory, to simulate the case of a planet moving away from its initial formation.
Their results showed that in a low-viscosity disk, a ring formed at a planet's initial location does not move when the planet migrates inward. The team identified three distinct phases. In Phase I, the initial ring remains intact as the planet moves inward. In Phase II, the initial ring begins to deform and a second ring begins to form at the new location on the planet. In Phase III, the initial ring disappears and only the last ring remains.
These results help explain why planets are rarely seen near the outer rings, and the three phases identified in the simulations match well with the patterns seen in the real rings. Higher resolution observations from next-generation telescopes, which will be able to search better the planets close to the central star, they will help determine to what extent these simulations match reality.
These results appeared in The Astrophysical Journal on November 12, 2021.