Gravitational Instabilities in Gaseous Protoplanetary Disks and Implications for Giant Planet Formation

R. H. Durisen, A. P. Boss, L. Mayer, A. F. Nelson, T. Quinn, W.K.M. Rice

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Protoplanetary gas disks are likely to experience gravitational instabilities (GIs) during some phase of their evolution. Density perturbations in an unstable disk grow on a dynamic timescale into spiral arms that produce efficient outward transfer of angular momentum and inward transfer of mass through gravitational torques. In a cool disk with sufficiently rapid cooling, the spiral arms in an unstable disk form self-gravitating clumps. Whether gas giant protoplanets can form by such a disk instability process is the primary question addressed by this review. We discuss the wide range of calculations undertaken by ourselves and others using various numerical techniques,and we report preliminary results from a large multicode collaboration.Additional topics include triggering mechanisms for GIs, disk heating and cooling, orbital survival of dense clumps, interactions of solids with GI-driven waves and shocks, and hybrid scenarios where GIs facilitate core accretion. The review ends with a discussion of how well disk instability and core accretion fare in meeting observational constraints.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProtostars and Planets
EditorsV, B. Reipurth , D. Jewitt , K. Keil
PublisherUniversity of Arizona Press
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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