- The thermal structure and the location of the snow line in the protosolar nebula: axisymmetric models with full 3-D radiative transfer
- Volume | Issue number
- 212 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
The precise location of the water ice condensation front (‘snow line’) in the protosolar nebula has been a debate for a long time. Its importance stems from the expected substantial jump in the abundance of solids beyond the snow line, which is conducive to planet formation, and from the higher ‘stickiness’ in collisions of ice-coated dust grains, which may help the process of coagulation of dust and the formation of planetesimals. In an optically thin nebula, the location of the snow line is easily calculated to be around 3 AU, subject to brightness variations of the young Sun. However, in its first 5-10 myr, the solar nebula was optically thick, implying a smaller snowline radius due to shielding from direct sunlight, but also a larger radius because of viscous heating. Several models have attempted to treat these opposing effects. However, until recently treatments beyond an approximate 1 + 1D radiative transfer were unfeasible. We revisit the problem with a fully self-consistent 3D treatment in an axisymmetric disk model, including a density-dependent treatment of the dust and ice sublimation. We find that the location of the snow line is very sensitive to the opacities of the dust grains and the mass accretion rate of the disk. We show that previous approximate treatments are quite efficient at determining the location of the snow line if the energy budget is locally dominated by viscous accretion. Using this result we derive an analytic estimate of the location of the snow line that compares very well with results from this and previous studies. Using solar abundances of the elements we compute the abundance of dust and ice and find that the expected jump in solid surface density at the snow line is smaller than previously assumed. We further show that in the inner few AU the refractory species are also partly evaporated, leading to a significantly smaller solid state surface density in the regions where the rocky planets were formed.
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