Toward a Deterministic Model of Planetary Formation V. Accumulation Near the Ice Line

Ida, Shigeru
Lin, D. N. C.
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We address two outstanding issues in the sequential accretion scenario for gas giant planet formation, the retention of dust grains in the presence of gas drag and that of cores despite type I migration. The efficiency of these processes is determined by the disk structure. Theoretical models suggest that planets form in protostellar disk regions with an inactive neutral ``dead zone'' near the mid plane, sandwiched together by partially ionized surface layers where magnetorotational instability is active. Due to a transition in the abundance of dust grains, the active layer's thickness decreases abruptly near the ice line. Over a range of modest accretion rates ($\sim 10^{-9}-10^{-8} M_\odot$ yr$^{-1}$), the change in the angular momentum transfer rate leads to local surface density and pressure distribution maxima near the ice line. The azimuthal velocity becomes super-Keplerian and the grains accumulate in this transition zone. This barrier locally retains protoplanetary cores and enhances the heavy element surface density to the critical value needed to initiate efficient gas accretion. It leads to a preferred location and epoch of gas giant formation. We simulate and reproduce the observed frequency and mass-period distribution of gas giants around solar type stars without having to greatly reduce the type I migration strength. The mass function of the short-period planets can be utilized to calibrate the efficiency of type I migration and to extrapolate the fraction of stars with habitable terrestrial planets.
Comment: 20 pages, 7 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ