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Anders Johansen. Profile picture.

Anders Johansen


Anders Johansen. Profile picture.

On the structure and mass delivery towards circumplanetary discs


  • Matthäus Schulik
  • Anders Johansen
  • Bertram Bitsch
  • Elena Lega
  • Michiel Lambrechts

Summary, in English

Circumplanetary discs (CPDs) form around young gas giants and are thought to be the sites of moon formation as well as an intermediate reservoir of gas that feeds the growth of the gas giant. How the physical properties of such CPDs are affected by the planetary mass and the overall opacity is relatively poorly understood. In order to clarify this, we use the global radiation hydrodynamics code FARGOCA, with a grid structure that allows resolving the planetary gravitational potential sufficiently well for a CPD to form. We then study the gas flows and density/temperature structures that emerge as a function of planet mass, opacity and potential depth. Our results indicate interesting structure formation for Jupiter-mass planets at low opacities, which we subsequently analyse in detail. Using an opacity level that is 100 times lower than that of ISM dust, our Jupiter-mass protoplanet features an envelope that is sufficiently cold for a CPD to form, and a free-fall region separating the CPD and the circumstellar disc emerges. Interestingly, this free-fall region appears to be a result of supersonic erosion of outer envelope material, as opposed to the static structure formation that one would expect at low opacities. Our analysis reveals that the planetary spiral arms seem to pose a significant pressure barrier that needs to be overcome through radiative cooling in order for gas to free-fall onto the CPD. The circulation inside the CPD is near-keplerian and modified by the presence of CPD spiral arms. For high opacities we recover results from the literature, finding an essentially featureless hot envelope. With this work, we demonstrate the first simulation and analysis of a complete detachment process of a protoplanet from its parent disc in a 3D radiation hydrodynamics setting.


  • Lund Observatory
  • eSSENCE: The e-Science Collaboration

Publishing year





Astronomy & Astrophysics

Document type

Journal article


EDP Sciences


  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology




  • ISSN: 0004-6361