Angular momentum accretion onto a gas giant planet

Masahiro N. Machida, Eiichiro Kokubo, Shu Ichiro Inutsuka, Tomoaki Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the accretion of angular momentum onto a protoplanet system using three-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations. We consider a local region around a protoplanet in a protoplanetary disk with sufficiently high spatial resolution. We describe the structure of the gas flow onto and around the protoplanet in detail. We find that the gas flows onto the protoplanet system in the vertical direction, crossing the shock front near the Hill radius of the protoplanet, which is qualitatively different from the picture established by two-dimensional simulations. The specific angular momentum of the gas accreted by the protoplanet system increases with the protoplanet's mass. At a Jovian orbit, when the protoplanet's mass Mp is Mp ≲ 1M Jup, where MJup is the Jovian mass, the specific angular momentum increases as j ∝ Mp. On the other hand, it increases as j ∝ Mp2/3 when the protoplanet's mass is M p ≳ 1MJup. The stronger dependence of the specific angular momentum on the protoplanet's mass for Mp ≲ 1M Jup is due to the thermal pressure of the gas. The estimated total angular momentum of a system of a gas giant planet and a circumplanetary disk is 2 orders of magnitude larger than those of the present gas giant planets in the solar system. A large fraction of the total angular momentum contributes to the formation of the circumplanetary disk. We also discuss the formation of satellites from the circumplanetary disk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1220-1236
Number of pages17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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