Metallicity of the massive protoplanets around HR 8799 If formed by gravitational instability

R. Helled*, P. Bodenheimer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The final composition of giant planets formed as a result of gravitational instability in the disk gas depends on their ability to capture solid material (planetesimals) during their 'pre-collapse' stage, when they are extended and cold, and contracting quasi-statically. The duration of the pre-collapse stage is inversely proportional roughly to the square of the planetary mass, so massive protoplanets have shorter pre-collapse timescales and therefore limited opportunity for planetesimal capture. The available accretion time for protoplanets with masses of 3, 5, 7, and 10 Jupiter masses is found to be 7.82×104,2.62×104,1.17×104 and 5.67×103 years, respectively. The total mass that can be captured by the protoplanets depends on the planetary mass, planetesimal size, the radial distance of the protoplanet from the parent star, and the local solid surface density. We consider three radial distances, 24, 38, and 68. AU, similar to the radial distances of the planets in the system HR 8799, and estimate the mass of heavy elements that can be accreted. We find that for the planetary masses usually adopted for the HR 8799 system, the amount of heavy elements accreted by the planets is small, leaving them with nearly stellar compositions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-508
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Abundances, Interiors
  • Accretion
  • Planetary formation
  • Planetesimals


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