Science Highlight




Science Highlights - ALMA Detection of a Circumplanetary Disk Around a Candidate Protoplanet



ALMA Detection of a Circumplanetary Disk Around a Candidate Protoplanet


ALMA has played an important role in helping us to visualize planet formation in a way not possible before. ALMA observations have provided the first clear and systematic view of the presence of gaps in circumstellar disks produced by orbiting planets (e.g. ALMA Partnership; Brogan et al. 2015Andrews et al. 2018). Another key observation within the reach of ALMA is the detection of submillimeter continuum emission from circumplanetary disks (CPDs) associated with young planets. These disks can feed the growth of planets and give rise to natural satellites.  In a recent study published by Dr. Andrea Isella and his collaborators, they report the detection of submillimeter emission associated with the exoplanet PDS 70c (see Figure), a 4-12 MJupiter exoplanet recently detected in Hα emission. They estimate a CPD dust mass ~ 2-3x10-3 MEarth (if the outer radius is larger than ~ 0.3 times the Hill Radius), which gives a CPD-to-planet mass ratio of ~ 10-4 -10-5. This low ratio, in combination with the previously measured accretion rate of 10-8 MJupiter yr-1, likely means that PDS 70c has accreted most of its final mass. They also report the detection of a submillimeter continuum source near a second planet (PDS 70b) in the system.

A link to the Isella et al. (2019) publication is here.

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