Planet-disk symbiosis

Re'em Sari*, Peter Goldreich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Planets form in disks around young stars. Interactions with these disks cause them to migrate and thus affect their final orbital periods. We suggest that the connection between planets and disks may be deeper and involve a symbiotic evolution. By contributing to the outward transport of angular momentum, planets promote disk accretion. Here we demonstrate that planets sufficiently massive to open gaps could be the primary agents driving disk accretion. Those having masses below the gap opening threshold drift inward more rapidly than the disk material and can only play a minor role in its accretion. An even more intimate symbiosis involving gap opening planets may result if they acquire most of their mass prior to gap formation. Given a small initial eccentricity, just a fraction of a percent, the orbital eccentricity of a massive planet may grow rapidly once a mass in excess of the planet's mass has been repelled to form a gap around the planet's orbit. Then, as the planet's radial excursions approach the gap's width, subsequent eccentricity growth slows so that the planet's orbit continues to be confined within the gap.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)L77-L80
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - 1 May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Planetary systems: formation
  • Planetary systems: protoplanetary disks


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