Water Vapor Distribution in Protoplanetary Disks

By Keith Cowing
August 12, 2014
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Water Vapor Distribution in Protoplanetary Disks

Water vapor has been detected in protoplanetary disks. In this work we model the distribution of water vapor in protoplanetary disks with a thermo-chemical code.

For a set of parameterized disk models, we calculate the distribution of dust temperature and radiation field of the disk with a Monte Carlo method, and then solve the gas temperature distribution and chemical composition. The radiative transfer includes detailed treatment of scattering by atomic hydrogen and absorption by water of Lyman alpha photons, since the Lyman alpha line dominates the UV spectrum of accreting young stars.

In a fiducial model, we find that warm water vapor with temperature around 300 K is mainly distributed in a small and well-confined region in the inner disk. The inner boundary of the warm water region is where the shielding of UV field due to dust and water itself become significant.

The outer boundary is where the dust temperature drops below the water condensation temperature. A more luminous central star leads to a more extended distribution of warm water vapor, while dust growth and settling tends to reduce the amount of warm water vapor. Based on typical assumptions regarding the elemental oxygen abundance and the water chemistry, the column density of warm water vapor can be as high as 1E22 cm^{-2}.

A small amount of hot water vapor with temperature higher than ~300 K exists in a more extended region in the upper atmosphere of the disk. Cold water vapor with temperature lower than 100 K is distributed over the entire disk, produced by photodesorption of the water ice.

Fujun Du, Edwin A. Bergin (Submitted on 9 Aug 2014)

Comments: Published in ApJ

Subjects: Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR); Earth and Planetary

Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP) Journal reference: ApJ 792, 2 (2014)

DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/792/1/2

Cite as: arXiv:1408.2026 [astro-ph.SR] (or arXiv:1408.2026v1 [astro-ph.SR] for this version)

Submission history

From: Fujun Du [v1] Sat, 9 Aug 2014 05:19:00 GMT (5053kb,D)

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.