Planet formation around intermediate-mass stars. I. Different disc evolutionary pathways as a function of stellar mass

Ronco, M. P.; Schreiber, M. R.; Villaver, E.; Guilera, O. M.; Miller Bertolami, M. M.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Context. The study of protoplanetary disc evolution and theories of planet formation has predominantly concentrated on solar- (and low-) mass stars since they host the majority of confirmed exoplanets. Nevertheless, the confirmation of numerous planets orbiting stars more massive than the Sun (up to ~3 M⊙) has sparked considerable interest in understanding the mechanisms involved in their formation, and thus in the evolution of their hosting protoplanetary discs.
Aims: We aim to improve our knowledge of the evolution of the gaseous component of protoplanetary discs around intermediate-mass stars and to set the stage for future studies of planet formation around them.
Methods: We study the long-term evolution of protoplanetary discs affected by viscous accretion and photoevaporation by X-ray and far-ultraviolet (FUV) photons from the central star around stars in the range of 1-3 M⊙, considering the effects of stellar evolution and solving the vertical structure equations of the disc. We explore the effect of different values of the viscosity parameter and the initial mass of the disc.
Results: We find that the evolutionary pathway of protoplanetary disc dispersal due to photoevaporation depends on the stellar mass. Our simulations reveal four distinct evolutionary pathways for the gas component not reported before that are a consequence of stellar evolution and that likely have a substantial impact on the dust evolution, and thus on planet formation. As the stellar mass increases from one solar mass to ~1.5-2 M⊙, the evolution of the disc changes from the conventional inside-out clearing, in which X-ray photoevaporation generates inner holes, to a homogeneous disc evolution scenario where both inner and outer discs formed after a gap is opened by photoevaporation vanish over a similar timescale. As the stellar mass continues to increase, reaching ~2-3 M⊙, we identify a distinct pathway that we refer to as revenant disc evolution. In this scenario, the inner and outer discs reconnect after the gap opened. For the largest masses, we observe outside-in disc dispersal, in which the outer disc dissipates first due to a stronger FUV photoevaporation rate. Revenant disc evolution stands out as it is capable of extending the disc lifespan. Otherwise, the disc dispersal timescale decreases with increasing stellar mass except for low-viscosity discs.

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