Five steps in the evolution from protoplanetary to debris disk
Astrophysics and Space Science
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Wyatt, M. C., Paníc, O., Kennedy, G. M., & Matrà, L. (2015). Five steps in the evolution from protoplanetary to debris disk. Astrophysics and Space Science, 357 (103)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10509-015-2315-6
The protoplanetary disks seen around Herbig Ae stars eventually dissipate leaving just a tenuous debris disk, comprised of planetesimals and the dust derived from them, as well as possibly gas and planets. This paper uses the properties of the youngest (10–20 Myr) A star debris disks to consider the transition from protoplanetary to debris disk. It is argued that the physical distinction between these two classes should rest on the presence of primordial gas in sufficient quantities to dominate the motion of small dust grains (rather than on the secondary nature of the dust or its level of stirring). This motivates an observational classification based on the dust emission spectrum which is empirically defined so that A star debris disks require fractional excesses <3 at 12 μm and <2000 at 70 μm. We also propose that a useful hypothesis to test is that the planet and planetesimal systems seen on the main sequence are already in place during the protoplanetary disk phase, but are obscured or overwhelmed by the rest of the disk. This may be only weakly true if the architecture of the planetary system continues to change until frozen at the epoch of disk dispersal, or completely false if planets and planetesimals form during the relatively short dispersal phase. Five steps in the transition are discussed: (i) the well-known carving of an inner hole to form a transition disk; (ii) depletion of mm-sized dust in the outer disk, where it is noted that it is of critical importance to ascertain whether this mass ends up in larger planetesimals or is collisionally depleted; (iii) final clearing of inner regions, where it is noted that multiple debris-like mechanisms exist to replenish moderate levels of hot dust at later phases, and that these likely also operate in protoplanetary disks; (iv) disappearance of the gas, noting the recent discoveries of both primordial and secondary gas in debris disks which highlight our ignorance in this area and its impending enlightenment by ALMA; (v) formation of ring-like structure of planetesimals, noting that these are shaped by interactions with planets, and that the location of the planetesimals in protoplanetary disks may be unrelated to that of dust concentrations therein that are set by gas interactions.
Protoplanetary disks, Debris disks, Planet formation, Planetesimals, Circumstellar material
The authors are grateful for support from the European Union through ERC grant number 279973.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10509-015-2315-6
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/247955