The separation and H-alpha contrasts of massive accreting planets in the gaps of transitional disks: Predicted H-alpha protoplanet yields for Adaptive Optics surveys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present a massive accreting gap (MAG) planet model that ensures large gaps in transitional disks are kept dust free by the scattering action of three co-planar quasi-circular planets in a 1:2:4 Mean Motion Resonance (MMR). This model uses the constraint of the observed gap size, and the dust-free nature of the gap, to determine within ~10% the possible orbits for 3 massive planets in an MMR. Calculated orbits are consistent with the observed orbits and Hα emission (the brightest line to observe these planets) for LkCa 15 b and PDS 70 b and PDS 70 c within observational errors. Moreover, the model suggests that the scarcity of detected Hα planets is likely a selection effect of the current limitations of non-coronagraphic, low (<10%) Strehl, Hα imaging with Adaptive Optics (AO) systems used in past Hα surveys. We predict that as higher Strehl AO systems (with high-performance custom coronagraphs; like 6.5-m Magellan Telescope MagAO-X system) are utilized at Hα the number of detected gap planets will substantially increase by more than tenfold. For example, we show that >25±5 new Hα “gap planets” are potentially discoverable by a survey of the best 19 transitional disks with MagAO-X. Detections of these accreting protoplanets will significantly improve our understanding of planet formation, planet growth and accretion, solar system architectures, and planet disk interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Aug 31 2020

Keywords

  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Planetary systems
  • Planets
  • Planets and satellites: fundamental parameters
  • Satellites: gaseous planets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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