Substructures in Protoplanetary Disks Imprinted by Compact Planetary Systems

Juan Garrido-Deutelmoser, Cristobal Petrovich, Leonardo Krapp, Kaitlin M. Kratter, Ruobing Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The substructures observed in protoplanetary disks may be the signposts of embedded planets carving gaps or creating vortices. The inferred masses of these planets often fall in the Jovian regime despite their low abundance compared to lower-mass planets, partly because previous works often assume that a single substructure (a gap or vortex) is caused by a single planet. In this work, we study the possible imprints of compact systems composed of Neptune-like planets (∼10-30 M ⊕) and show that long-standing vortices are a prevalent outcome when their interplanetary separation (Δa) falls below ∼8 times H p - the average disk's scale height at the planet's locations. In simulations where a single planet is unable to produce long-lived vortices, two-planet systems can preserve them for at least 5000 orbits in two regimes: (i) fully shared density gaps with elongated vortices around the stable Lagrange points L 4 and L 5 for the most compact planet pairs (Δa ≲ 4.6 H p), and (ii) partially shared gaps for more widely spaced planets (Δa ∼4.6-8 H p) forming vortices in a density ring between the planets through the Rossby wave instability. The latter case can produce vortices with a wide range of aspect ratios down to ∼3 and can occur for planets captured into the 3:2 (2:1) mean-motion resonances for disks' aspects ratios of h ≳ 0.033 (h ≳ 0.057). We suggest that their long lifetimes are sustained by the interaction of spiral density waves launched by the neighboring planets. Overall, our results show that the distinguishing imprint of compact systems with Neptune-mass planets are long-lived vortices inside the density gaps, which in turn are shallower than single-planet gaps for a fixed gap width.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number41
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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