Low-mass protoplanet migration in T Tauri α-disks

Kristen Menou, Jeremy Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


We present detailed estimates of type I-migration rates for low-mass protoplanets embedded in steady state T Tauri α-disks, based on Lindblad torque calculations ignoring feedback on the disk. Differences in migration rates for several plausible background disk models are explored and we compare results obtained using the standard two-dimensional formalism of spiral density wave theory with those obtained from a simple treatment of three-dimensional effects. Opacity transitions in the disk result in sudden radial variations of the migration rates. Regions with minimal migration rates may be preferred sites of gravitational interactions between protoplanets. Three-dimensional torques are significantly weaker than two-dimensional ones, and they are sensitive to the surface density profile of the background disk. We find that migration times in excess of runaway-envelope-accretion times or T Tauri disk lifetimes are possible for Earth-mass protoplanets in some background disk models, even at sub-AU distances. We conclude that an understanding of the background disk structure and viscosity, as well as a proper treatment of three-dimensional effects in torque calculations, is necessary to obtain reliable estimates of type I-migration rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-531
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - May 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Accretion: Accretion disks
  • Planetary systems: formation
  • Planetary systems: protoplanetary disks
  • Waves


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