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Photoevaporation of protoplanetary disks by UV photons from nearby massive stars : observations of proplyds and modeling

Abstract : Protoplanetary disks are found around young stars, and represent the embryonic stage of planetary systems. At different phases of their evolution, disks may undergo substantial mass-loss by photoevaporation: energetic photons from the central or a nearby star heat the disk, hence particles can escape the gravitational potential and the disk loses mass. However, this mechanism, and the underlying physics regulating photoevaporation, have not been well constrained by observations so far. The aims of this thesis are to study photoevaporation, in the specific case when it is driven by far-UV photons, to identify the main physical parameters (density, temperature) and processes (gas heating and cooling mechanisms) that are involved, and to estimate its impact on the disk dynamical evolution. The study relies on coupling observations and models of disks being photoevaporated by UV photons coming from neighbouring massive star(s). Those objects, also known as "proplyds", appear as disks surrounded by a large cometary shaped envelope fed by the photoevaporation flows. Using a 1D code of the photodissociation region, I developed a model for the far-IR emission of proplyds. This model was used to interpret observations, mainly obtained with the Herschel Space Observatory, of four proplyds. We found similar physical conditions at their disk surface: a density of the order of 10 6 cm and a temperature about 1000 K. We found that this temperature is maintained by a dynamical equilibrium: if the disk surface cools, its mass-loss rate declines and the surrounding envelope is reduced. Consequently, the attenuation of the UV radiation field by the envelope decreases and the disk surface, receiving more UV photons, heats up. Most of the disk is thus able to escape through photoevaporation flows leading to mass-loss rates of the order of 10 -7 solar mass per year or more, in good agreement with earlier spectroscopic observations of ionised gas tracers. Following this work, I developed a 1D hydrodynamical code to study the dynamical evolution of an externally illuminated protoplanetary disk. [...]
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Submitted on : Monday, October 7, 2019 - 11:51:08 AM
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Jason Champion. Photoevaporation of protoplanetary disks by UV photons from nearby massive stars : observations of proplyds and modeling. Solar and Stellar Astrophysics [astro-ph.SR]. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017TOU30392⟩. ⟨tel-02307075⟩



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