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Journal Article

Hybrid methods in planetesimal dynamics: Formation of protoplanetary systems and the mill condition


Amaro-Seoane,  Pau
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Amaro-Seoane, P., Glaschke, P., & Spurzem, R. (2014). Hybrid methods in planetesimal dynamics: Formation of protoplanetary systems and the mill condition. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 445 (4), 3755 -3769. doi:10.1093/mnras/stu1734.

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The formation and evolution of protoplanetary discs remains a challenge from both a theoretical and numerical standpoint. In this work we first perform a series of tests of our new hybrid algorithm presented in Glaschke, Amaro-Seoane and Spurzem 2011 (henceforth Paper I) that combines the advantages of high accuracy of direct-summation N-body methods with a statistical description for the planetesimal disc based on Fokker-Planck techniques. We then address the formation of planets, with a focus on the formation of protoplanets out of planetesimals. We find that the evolution of the system is driven by encounters as well as direct collisions and requires a careful modelling of the evolution of the velocity dispersion and the size distribution over a large range of sizes. The simulations show no termination of the protoplanetary accretion due to gap formation, since the distribution of the planetesimals is only subjected to small fluctuations. We also show that these features are weakly correlated with the positions of the protoplanets. The exploration of different impact strengths indicates that fragmentation mainly controls the overall mass loss, which is less pronounced during the early runaway growth. We prove that the fragmentation in combination with the effective removal of collisional fragments by gas drag sets an universal upper limit of the protoplanetary mass as a function of the distance to the host star, which we refer to as the mill condition.