Analytical solutions for radiative transfer: implications for giant planet formation by disk instability.
Abstract (from CDS):
The disk instability mechanism for giant planet formation is based on the formation of clumps in a marginally gravitationally unstable protoplanetary disk, which must lose thermal energy through a combination of convection and radiative cooling if they are to survive and contract to become giant protoplanets. While there is good observational support for forming at least some giant planets by disk instability, the mechanism has become theoretically contentious, with different three-dimensional radiative hydrodynamics codes often yielding different results. Rigorous code testing is required to make further progress. Here we present two new analytical solutions for radiative transfer in spherical coordinates, suitable for testing the code employed in all of the Boss disk instability calculations. The testing shows that the Boss code radiative transfer routines do an excellent job of relaxing to and maintaining the analytical results for the radial temperature and radiative flux profiles for a spherical cloud with high or moderate optical depths, including the transition from optically thick to optically thin regions. These radial test results are independent of whether the Eddington approximation, diffusion approximation, or flux-limited diffusion approximation routines are employed. The Boss code does an equally excellent job of relaxing to and maintaining the analytical results for the vertical (θ) temperature and radiative flux profiles for a disk with a height proportional to the radial distance. These tests strongly support the disk instability mechanism for forming giant planets.