Predicting the Observational Signature of Migrating Neptune-sized Planets in Low-viscosity Disks

Philipp Weber, Sebastián Pérez, Pablo Benítez-Llambay, Oliver Gressel, Simon Casassus, Leonardo Krapp

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33 Scopus citations


The migration of planetary cores embedded in a protoplanetary disk is an important mechanism within planet-formation theory, relevant for the architecture of planetary systems. Consequently, planet migration is actively discussed, yet often results of independent theoretical or numerical studies are unconstrained due to the lack of observational diagnostics designed in light of planet migration. In this work we follow the idea of inferring the migration behavior of embedded planets by means of the characteristic radial structures that they imprint in the disk's dust density distribution. We run hydrodynamical multifluid simulations of gas and several dust species in a locally isothermal α-disk in the low-viscosity regime (α = 10-5) and investigate the obtained dust structures. In this framework, a planet of roughly Neptune mass can create three (or more) rings in which dust accumulates. We find that the relative spacing of these rings depends on the planet's migration speed and direction. By performing subsequent radiative transfer calculations and image synthesis we show that - always under the condition of a near-inviscid disk - different migration scenarios are, in principle, distinguishable by long-baseline, state-of-the-art Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number178
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


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