Observability of planet-disc interactions in CO kinematics

Sebastián Pérez, S. Casassus, P. Benítez-Llambay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Empirical evidence of planets in gas-rich circumstellar discs is required to constrain giant planet formation theories. Here we study the kinematic patterns which arise from planet- disc interactions and their observability in CO rotational emission lines. We perform 3D hydrodynamical simulations of single giant planets and predict the emergent intensity field with radiative transfer. Pressure gradients at planet-carved gaps, spiral wakes, and vortices bear strong kinematic counterparts. The isovelocity contours in the CO(2-1) line centroids vo reveal large-scale perturbations, corresponding to abrupt transitions from below sub-Keplerian to super-Keplerian rotation along with radial and vertical flows. The increase in line optical depth at the edge of the gap also modulates vo, but this is a mild effect compared to the dynamical imprint of the planet-disc interaction. The large-scale deviations from the Keplerian rotation thus allow the planets to be indirectly detected via the first moment maps of molecular gas tracers, at Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array angular resolutions. The strength of these deviations depends on the mass of the perturber. This initial study paves the way to eventually determine the mass of the planet by comparison with more detailed models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L12-L17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 11 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydrodynamics
  • Methods: numerical
  • Planet- disc interactions
  • Planets and satellites: detection
  • Protoplanetary discs


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