Gravitoviscous protoplanetary disks with a dust component: I. the importance of the inner sub-au region

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aims. The central region of a circumstellar disk is difficult to resolve in global numerical simulations of collapsing cloud cores, but its effect on the evolution of the entire disk can be significant. Methods. We used numerical hydrodynamics simulations to model the long-term evolution of self-gravitating and viscous circumstellar disks in the thin-disk limit. Simulations start from the gravitational collapse of pre-stellar cores of 0.5-1.0 M and both gaseous and dusty subsystems were considered, including a model for dust growth. The inner unresolved 1.0 au of the disk is replaced with a central smart cell (CSC), a simplified model that simulates physical processes that may occur in this region. Results. We found that the mass transport rate through the CSC has an appreciable effect on the evolution of the entire disk. Models with slow mass transport form more massive and warmer disks, and are more susceptible to gravitational instability and fragmentation, including a newly identified episodic mode of disk fragmentation in the T Tauri phase of disk evolution. Models with slow mass transport through the CSC feature episodic accretion and luminosity bursts in the early evolution, while models with fast transport are characterized by a steadily declining accretion rate with low-amplitude flickering. Dust grows to a larger, decimeter size in the slow transport models and efficiently drifts in the CSC, where it accumulates and reaches the limit where a streaming instability becomes operational. We argue that gravitational instability, together with a streaming instability likely operating in the inner disk regions, constitute two concurrent planet-forming mechanisms, which may explain the observed diversity of exoplanetary orbits. Conclusions. We conclude that sophisticated models of the inner unresolved disk regions should be used when modeling the formation and evolution of gaseous and dusty protoplanetary disks.


  • Eduard I. Vorobyov
  • Aleksandr M. Skliarevskii
  • Vardan G. Elbakyan
  • Yaroslav Pavlyuchenkov
  • Vitaly Akimkin
  • Manuel Guedel
External organisations
  • University of Vienna
  • Southern Federal University
  • Russian Academy of Sciences
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


  • Planets and satellites: formation, Protoplanetary disks, Stars: protostars
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA154
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul 17
Publication categoryResearch