Observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter array (ALMA) have dramatically improved our understanding of the site of exoplanet formation: protoplanetary discs. However, many basic properties of these discs are not well-understood. The most fundamental of these is the total disc mass, which sets the mass budget for planet formation. Discs with sufficiently high masses can excite gravitational instability and drive spiral arms that are detectable with ALMA . Although spirals have been detected in ALMA observations of the dust , their association with gravitational instability, and high disc masses, is far from clear. Here we report a prediction for kinematic evidence of gravitational instability. Using hydrodynamics simulations coupled with radiative transfer calculations, we show that a disc undergoing such instability has clear kinematic signatures in molecular line observations across the entire disc azimuth and radius which are independent of viewing angle. If these signatures are detected, it will provide the clearest evidence for the occurrence of gravitational instability in planet-forming discs, and provide a crucial way to measure disc masses.
- Pub Date:
- July 2020
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- 10 pages, 7 figures, accepted to The Astrophysical Journal