Vol 17, No 8

The snowline in the protoplanetary disk and extrasolar planets

Chun-Jian Liu, Zhen Yao, Wen-Bo Ding


Abstract We investigate the behavior of the snowline in a protoplanetary disk and the relationship between the radius of the snowline and properties of molecular cloud cores. In our disk model, we consider mass influx from the gravitational collapse of a molecular cloud core, irradiation from the central star, and thermal radiation from the ambient molecular cloud gas. As the protoplanetary disk evolves, the radius of the snowline increases first to a maximum value Rmax, and then decreases in the late stage of evolution of the protoplanetary disk. The value of Rmax is dependent on the properties of molecular cloud cores (mass Mcore, angular velocity ω and temperature Tcore). Many previous works found that solid material tends to accumulate at the location of the snowline, which suggests that the snowline is the preferred location for giant planet formation. With these conclusions, we compare the values of Rmax with semimajor axes of giant planets in extrasolar systems, and find that Rmax may provide an upper limit for the locations of the formation of giant planets which are formed by the core accretion model.


Keywords snowline — planets and satellites: formation — protoplanetary disks

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