Wednesday, July 17, 2013

1307.4368 (Kassandra R. Anderson et al.)

Viscous Evolution and Photoevaporation of Circumstellar Disks due to External FUV Radiation Fields    [PDF]

Kassandra R. Anderson, Fred C. Adams, Nuria Calvet
This paper explores the effects of FUV radiation fields from external stars on circumstellar disk evolution. Disks residing in young clusters can be exposed to extreme levels of FUV flux from nearby OB stars, and observations show that disks in such environments are being actively photoevaporated. Typical FUV flux levels can be factors of \sim 10^{2} - 10^{4} higher than the interstellar value. These fields are effective in driving mass loss from circumstellar disks because they act at large radial distance from the host star, i.e., where most of the disk mass is located, and where the gravitational potential well is shallow. We combine viscous evolution (an \alpha-disk model) with an existing FUV photoevaporation model to derive constraints on disk lifetimes, and to determine disk properties as functions of time, including mass loss rates, disk masses, and radii. We also consider the effects of X-ray photoevaporation from the host star using an existing model, and show that for disks around solar-mass stars, externally-generated FUV fields are often the dominant mechanism in depleting disk material. For sufficiently large viscosities, FUV fields can efficiently photoevaporate disks over the entire range of parameter space. Disks with viscosity parameter \alpha = 10^{-3} are effectively dispersed within 1-3 Myr; for higher viscosities (\alpha = 10^{-2}) disks are dispersed within \sim 0.25 - 0.5 Myr. Furthermore, disk radii are truncated to less than \sim100 AU, which can possibly affect the formation of planets. Our model predictions are consistent with the range of observed masses and radii of proplyds in the Orion Nebula Cluster.
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