Large-scale hydrodynamic instabilities and structures in protoplanetary disks

Seminar Date: 
31 Jan 2014 - 14:00
Speaker: 
Min-Kai Lin
Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics in Toronto

Recent observations of protoplanetary disks reveal asymmetric structures
such as spiral arms and lopsided dust distributions. I will discuss the possible
origins and impact of large-scale structures in protoplanetary disks due to
hydrodynamical instabilities. One example is the Rossby wave instability,
which has received attention because it leads to the formation of large-scale
vortices that may assist planetesimal formation by acting as dust traps. I will
present recent efforts to generalize previous 2D descriptions of this instability
to 3D disks using both linear calculations and hydrodynamical simulations. I will
also discuss gravitational instabilities in protoplanetary disks associated with
planetary gaps and show that such instabilities significantly affect planetary
migration, which may be relevant to the population of directly-imaged giant
planets on wide orbits.