Evolution of α Centauri B’s Protoplanetary Disc

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society





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With hydrodynamical simulations we examine the evolution of a protoplanetary disc around α Centauri B including the effect of the eccentric orbit binary companion α Centauri A. The initially circular orbit disc undergoes two types of eccentricity growth. First, the eccentricity oscillates on the orbital period of the binary, Porb, due to the eccentricity of the binary orbit. Secondly, for a sufficiently small disc aspect ratio, the disc undergoes global forced eccentricity oscillations on a time-scale of around 20 Porb. These oscillations damp out through viscous dissipation leaving a quasi-steady eccentricity profile for the disc that oscillates only on the binary orbital period. The time-averaged global eccentricity is in the range 0.05–0.1, with no precession in the steady state. The periastrons of the gas particles are aligned to one another. The higher the disc viscosity, the higher the disc eccentricity. With N-body simulations we examine the evolution of a disc of planetesimals that forms with the orbital properties of the quasi-steady protoplanetary disc. We find that the average magnitude of the eccentricity of particles increases and their periastrons become misaligned to each other once they decouple from the gas disc. The low planetesimal collision velocity required for planet formation suggests that for planet formation to have occurred in a disc of planetesimals formed from a protoplanetary disc around α Centauri B, said disc’s viscosity must be have been small and planet formation must have occurred at orbital radii smaller than about 2.5 au. Planet formation may be easier with the presence of gas.


Accretion; Accretion Discs; Hydrodynamics; Planets and Satellites: Formation; Binaries: General; Stars: Individual: α Centauri


Astrophysics and Astronomy | Physical Sciences and Mathematics



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