Planet-disk interaction in three dimensions: The importance of buoyancy waves

Zhaohuan Zhu, James McLellan Stone, Roman R. Rafikov

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23 Scopus citations


We carry out local three-dimensional (3D) hydrodynamic simulations of planet-disk interaction in stratified disks with varied thermodynamic properties. We find that whenever the Brunt-Väisälä frequency (N) in the disk is non-zero, the planet exerts a strong torque on the disk in the vicinity of the planet, with a reduction in the traditional "torque cutoff." In particular, this is true for adiabatic perturbations in disks with isothermal density structure, as should be typical for centrally irradiated protoplanetary disks. We identify this torque with buoyancy waves, which are excited (when N is non-zero) close to the planet, within one disk scale height from its orbit. These waves give rise to density perturbations with a characteristic 3D spatial pattern which is in close agreement with the linear dispersion relation. The torque due to these waves can amount to as much as several tens of percent of the total planetary torque, which is not expected based on analytical calculations limited to axisymmetric or low-m modes. Buoyancy waves should be ubiquitous around planets in the inner, dense regions of protoplanetary disks, where they might possibly affect planet migration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL42
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 20 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • disk interactions
  • hydrodynamics
  • main sequence
  • only material: color figures
  • planet
  • stars: formation
  • stars: pre
  • waves Online


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