Exoplanets & Exomoons

Thermal Structure Of Circumbinary Discs: Circumbinary Planets Should Be Icy Not Rocky

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
March 8, 2024
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Thermal Structure Of Circumbinary Discs: Circumbinary Planets Should Be Icy Not Rocky
Circumbinary planet — NASA

The process of forming a circumbinary planet is thought to be intimately related to the structure of the nascent circumbinary disc. It has been shown that the structure of a circumbinary disc depends strongly on 3-dimensional effects and on the detailed modelling of the thermodynamics.

Here, we employ 3-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations, combined with a proper treatment of the thermal physics using the RADMC-3D radiation transport code, to examine the location of the snow line in circumbinary discs. The models have application to the circumbinary planets that have been discovered in recent years by the Kepler and TESS transit surveys.

We find that the snow line is located in a narrow region of the circumbinary disc, close to the inner cavity that is carved out by the central binary, at typical orbital distances of ∼1.5−2 AU for the system parameters considered.

In this region, previous work has shown that both grain growth and pebble accretion are likely to be inefficient because of the presence of hydrodynamical turbulence. Hence, in situ planet formation interior to the snow line is unlikely to occur and circumbinary planets should preferentially be icy, not rocky.

Surface density distribution for each of the simulations. The location of the ice line is indicated by the green circle, while the locations of the stars are represented as white circles. — astro-ph.EP

Arnaud Pierens, Richard P. Nelson

Comments: Accepted in A&A
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2403.04535 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2403.04535v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Arnaud Pierens
[v1] Thu, 7 Mar 2024 14:34:09 UTC (827 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻