Water is a unique substance in the protoplanetary nebula since both solid and gaseous phases coexist in large quantities. Quantitative estimates of their relative abundances are important parameters regarding the physical state of the nebula and planet formation processes. This new model is based on computing the chemical evolution of water molecules until its partial pressure is sufficient to pierce the vapor pressure curve for water. The point at which this occurs relative to its steady state values determines final gas/ice ratios. The wide range of temperatures and densities in typical protoplanetary disks result in a range of gas/ice ratios. It is found that although ice dominates the mid and far nebula, water vapor is predominant in the centerplane region of the near nebula and above the disk photosphere. An interesting near nebula effect is the appearance of a cloud of water ice at the temperature inversion elevation surrounded by vapor above and below. This work is partially supported by the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts #38
- Pub Date:
- September 2006