"ashfall" Induced by Molecular Outflow in Protostar Evolution

Yusuke Tsukamoto, Masahiro N. Machida, Shu Ichiro Inutsuka

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Dust growth and its associated dynamics play key roles in the first phase of planet formation in young stellar objects. Observations have detected signs of dust growth in very young protoplanetary disks. Furthermore, signs of planet formation, gaps in the disk at a distance of several tens of au from the central protostar, are also reported. From a theoretical point of view, however, planet formation in the outer regions is difficult due to the rapid inward drift of dust, called the radial drift barrier. Here, on the basis of three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamical simulations of disk evolution with dust growth, we propose a mechanism called the "ashfall"phenomenon, induced by a powerful molecular outflow driven by a magnetic field that may circumvent the radial drift barrier. We find that the large dust that grows to a size of about a centimeter in the inner region of a disk is entrained by an outflow from the disk. Then, large dust decoupled from gas is ejected from the outflow due to centrifugal force, enriching the grown dust in the envelope and eventually falls onto the outer edge of the disk. The overall process is similar to the behavior of ashfall from volcanic eruptions. In the ashfall phenomenon, the Stokes number of dust increases by reaccreting to the less dense disk outer edge. This may allow the dust grains to overcome the radial drift barrier. Consequently, the ashfall phenomenon can provide a crucial assist for making the formation of the planetesimals in outer regions of the disk possible, and hence the formation of wide-orbit planets and gaps.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL35
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 20 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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