The opacity of grains in protoplanetary atmospheres

N. Movshovitz, M. Podolak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have computed the size distribution of silicate grains in the outer radiative region of the envelope of a protoplanet evolving according to the scenario of Pollack et al. [Pollack, J.B., Hubickyj, O., Bodenheimer, P., Lissauer, J.J., Podolak, M., Greenzweig, Y., 1996. Icarus 124, 62-85]. Our computation includes grain growth due to Brownian motion and overtake of smaller grains by larger ones. We also include the input of new grains due to the breakup of planetesimals in the atmosphere. We follow the procedure of Podolak [Podolak, M., 2003. Icarus 165, 428-437], but have speeded it up significantly. This allows us to test the sensitivity of the code to various parameters. We have also made a more careful estimate of the resulting grain opacity. We find that the grain opacity is of the order of 10-2   cm2 g-1 throughout most of the outer radiative zone as Hubickyj et al. [Hubickyj, O., Bodenheimer, P., Lissauer, J.J., 2005. Icarus 179, 415-431] assumed for their low opacity case, but near the outer edge of the envelope, the opacity can increase to ∼ 1   cm2 g-1. We discuss the effect of this on the evolution of the models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-378
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Formation
  • Planets and satellites
  • Solar System


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