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Formation of eccentric gas discs from sublimating or partially disrupted asteroids orbiting white dwarfs

posted on 03.08.2021, 02:50 by David TrevascusDavid Trevascus, Daniel PriceDaniel Price

Of the 21 known gaseous debris discs around white dwarfs, a large fraction of them display observational features that are well described by an eccentric distribution of gas. In the absence of embedded objects or additional forces, these discs should not remain eccentric for long timescales, and should instead circularise due to viscous spreading. The metal pollution and infrared excess we observe from these stars is consistent with the presence of tidally disrupted sub-stellar bodies. We demonstrate, using smoothed particle hydrodynamics, that a sublimating or partially disrupting planet on an eccentric orbit around a white dwarf will form and maintain a gas disc with an eccentricity within 0.1 of, and lower than, that of the orbiting body. We also demonstrate that the eccentric gas disc observed around the white dwarf SDSS J1228+1040 can be explained by the same hypothesis.

Contained are parameter files for Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) simulations of a point mass (asteroid) injecting gas particles in orbit around a white dwarf. The simulation files include those for a point mass orbiting with eccentricity e=0.1 (WD_form_1), e=0.3 (WD_form_3), e=0.5 (WD_form_5), and e=0.7 (WD_form_7). Also included are files from a simulation attempting to match the eccentricity of the disc around the white dwarf SDSS J1228+1040 (WD_J1228), and files with e=0.5 and lower particle resolutions of 1000 injected particles per orbit (WD_res_3) and 10000 injected particles per orbit (WD_res_4).

All simulations have been performed using the SPH code PHANTOM.


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Australian Research Council

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