Gaps, rings, and non-axisymmetric structures in protoplanetary disks: From simulations to ALMA observations

Abstract : Aims. Recent observations by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) of disks around young stars revealed distinct asymmetries in the dust continuum emission. In this work we wish to study axisymmetric and non-axisymmetric structures that are generated by the magneto-rotational instability in the outer regions of protoplanetary disks. We combine the results of state-of-the-art numerical simulations with post-processing radiative transfer (RT) to generate synthetic maps and predictions for ALMA.Methods. We performed non-ideal global 3D magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) stratified simulations of the dead-zone outer edge using the FARGO MHD code PLUTO. The stellar and disk parameters were taken from a parameterized disk model applied for fitting high-angular resolution multi-wavelength observations of various circumstellar disks. We considered a stellar mass of M∗ = 0.5 M⊙ and a total disk mass of about 0.085 M∗. The 2D initial temperature and density profiles were calculated consistently from a given surface density profile and Monte Carlo radiative transfer. The 2D Ohmic resistivity profile was calculated using a dust chemistry model. We considered two values for the dust-to-gas mass ratio, 10-2 and 10-4, which resulted in two different levels of magnetic coupling. The initial magnetic field was a vertical net flux field. The radiative transfer simulations were performed with the Monte Carlo-based 3D continuum RT code MC3D. The resulting dust reemission provided the basis for the simulation of observations with ALMA.Results. All models quickly turned into a turbulent state. The fiducial model with a dust-to-gas mass ratio of 10-2 developed a large gap followed by a jump in surface density located at the dead-zone outer edge. The jump in density and pressure was strong enough to stop the radial drift of particles at this location. In addition, we observed the generation of vortices by the Rossby wave instability at the jump location close to 60 AU. The vortices were steadily generated and destroyed at a cycle of 40 local orbits. The RT results and simulated ALMA observations predict that it is feasible to observe these large-scale structures that appear in magnetized disks without planets. Neither the turbulent fluctuations in the disk nor specific times of the model can be distinguished on the basis of high-angular resolution submillimeter observations alone. The same applies to the distinction between gaps at the dead-zone edges and planetary gaps, to the distinction between turbulent and simple unperturbed disks, and to the asymmetry created by the vortex.
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M. Flock, J. P. Ruge, N. Dzyurkevich, Th. Henning, H. Klahr, et al.. Gaps, rings, and non-axisymmetric structures in protoplanetary disks: From simulations to ALMA observations. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2015, 574, pp.A68. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201424693⟩. ⟨cea-01290093⟩

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