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Published January 20, 2012 | Published
Journal Article Open

The Role of Multiplicity in Disk Evolution and Planet Formation


The past decade has seen a revolution in our understanding of protoplanetary disk evolution and planet formation in single-star systems. However, the majority of solar-type stars form in binary systems, so the impact of binary companions on protoplanetary disks is an important element in our understanding of planet formation. We have compiled a combined multiplicity/disk census of Taurus-Auriga, plus a restricted sample of close binaries in other regions, in order to explore the role of multiplicity in disk evolution. Our results imply that the tidal influence of a close (≾ 40 AU) binary companion significantly hastens the process of protoplanetary disk dispersal, as ~2/3 of all close binaries promptly disperse their disks within ≾1 Myr after formation. However, prompt disk dispersal only occurs for a small fraction of wide binaries and single stars, with ~80%-90% retaining their disks for at least ~2-3 Myr (but rarely for more than ~5 Myr). Our new constraints on the disk clearing timescale have significant implications for giant planet formation; most single stars have 3-5 Myr within which to form giant planets, whereas most close binary systems would have to form giant planets within ≾1 Myr. If core accretion is the primary mode for giant planet formation, then gas giants in close binaries should be rare. Conversely, since almost all single stars have a similar period of time within which to form gas giants, their relative rarity in radial velocity (RV) surveys indicates either that the giant planet formation timescale is very well matched to the disk dispersal timescale or that features beyond the disk lifetime set the likelihood of giant planet formation.

Additional Information

© 2012 American Astronomical Society. Received 2011 January 21; accepted 2011 September 17; published 2011 December 28. The authors thank G. Herczeg, S. Andrews, S. Corder, T. Currie, I. Pascucci, and R. Alexander for helpful discussions on envelope and disk evolution. The authors also thank the referee for a thoughtful critique of this work. A.L.K. was supported by a SIM Science Study and by NASA through Hubble Fellowship grant 51257.01 awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., for NASA, under contract NAS 5-26555. M.J.I. was supported by an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship from the ARC. L.A.H. acknowledges support from the NASA Origins of Solar Systems and the NASA ADP programs.

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Published - Kraus2012p17601Astrophys_J.pdf


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