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The effect of self-gravity on vortex instabilities in disc-planet interactions

By Min-Kai Lin and John Papaloizou


We study the effect of disc self-gravity on vortex-forming instabilities associated with gaps opened by a Saturn mass planet in a protoplanetary disc. It is shown analytically and confirmed through linear calculations that vortex modes with low azimuthal mode number $,m,$ are stabilised by increasing self-gravity if the basic state is fixed. However, linear calculations show that the combined effect of self-gravity through the background and through the linear response shifts the most unstable vortex mode to higher $m.$ Nonlinear hydrodynamic simulations of planetary gaps show more vortices develop with increasing strength of self-gravity. For sufficiently large disc mass the vortex instability is suppressed and replaced by a new global instability, consistent with analytical expectations. In the nonlinear regime, vortex merging is increasingly delayed as the disc mass increases and multiple vortices may persist until the end of simulations. With self-gravity, the post-merger vortex is localised in azimuth and has similar structure to a Kida-like vortex. This is unlike the case without self-gravity where vortices merge to form a single vortex extended in azimuth. We also performed a series of supplementary simulations of co-orbital Kida-like vortices and found that self-gravity enables such vortices to execute horseshoe turns upon encountering each other. As a result vortex merging is avoided on time-scales where it would occur without self-gravity. Thus we suggest that mutual repulsion of self-gravitating vortices in a rotating flow is responsible for the delayed vortex merging above. The effect of self-gravity on vortex-induced migration is briefly discussed. We found that when self-gravity is included, the vortex-induced type III migration of Lin & Papaloizou (2010) is delayed but the extent of migration is unchanged.Comment: 21 pages, 19 figures. Accepted by MNRAS. Displayed abstract is shortene

Topics: Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.18798.x
OAI identifier:
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