The magnetic field inside a protoplanetary disk gap opened by planets of different masses



Carballido, Augusto
Matthews, Lorin
Hyde, Truell W.

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


We perform magnetohydrodynamic simulations of protoplanetary disc gaps opened by planets of various masses, with the aim of calculating the strength of the vertical magnetic field threading such gaps. We introduce a gravitational potential at the centre of a shearing box to compute the tidal interaction between the planets and the disc gas, which is turbulent due to the magnetorotational instability. Two types of simulations are executed: 1) In type ‘Z’, the initial magnetic field has only a uniform, vertical component, and ten planet masses between 0.66 and 6.64 thermal masses are used; 2) In type ‘YZ’, the initial magnetic field has both toroidal and vertical components, and five planet masses covering the same mass range are used. Our results show that, for low planet masses, higher values of the vertical magnetic field occur inside the gaps than outside, in agreement with the previous work. However, for massive planets, we find that the radial profiles of the field show dips near the gap centre. The interior of the Hill sphere of the most massive planet in the Z runs contains more low-plasma β values (i.e. high magnetic pressure) compared to lower-mass planets. Values of β at a distance of one Hill radius from each planet show a moderate decrease with planet mass. These results are relevant for the magnetic structure of circumplanetary discs and their possible outflows, and may be refined to aid future observational efforts to infer planet masses from high-resolution polarimetric observations of discs with gaps.




MNRAS, 472(3), 3277-3287, 2017