Report

Formation of Giant Planets by Fragmentation of Protoplanetary Disks

Science  29 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5599, pp. 1756-1759
DOI: 10.1126/science.1077635

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Abstract

The evolution of gravitationally unstable protoplanetary gaseous disks has been studied with the use of three-dimensional smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations with unprecedented resolution. We have considered disks with initial masses and temperature profiles consistent with those inferred for the protosolar nebula and for other protoplanetary disks. We show that long-lasting, self-gravitating protoplanets arise after a few disk orbital periods if cooling is efficient enough to maintain the temperature close to 50 K. The resulting bodies have masses and orbital eccentricities similar to those of detected extrasolar planets.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: lucio{at}physik.unizh.ch, trq{at}astro.washington.edu

  • Present address: Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.

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