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    The active galactic nucleus (AGN) disc has been proposed as a potential channel for the merger of binary black holes. The population of massive stars and black holes in AGN discs captured from the nuclei cluster plays a crucial role in determining the efficiency of binary formation and final merger rate within the AGN discs. In this paper, we investigate the capture process using analytical and numerical approaches. We discover a new constant integral of motion for one object’s capture process. Applying this result to the whole population of the nuclei cluster captured by the AGN disc, we find that the population of captured objects depends on the angular density and eccentricity distribution of the nuclei clusters and is effectively independent of the radial density profile of the nuclei cluster and disc models. An isotropic nuclei cluster with thermal eccentricity distribution predicts a captured profile dN/dr ∝ r−1/4. The captured objects are found to be dynamically crowded within the disc. Direct binary formation right after the capture would be promising, especially for stars. The conventional migration traps that help pile up single objects in AGN discs for black hole mergers might not be required.

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  2. Abstract

    Recent observations of changing-look active galactic nuclei (AGNs) hint at a frequency of accretion activity not fully explained by tidal disruption events (TDEs) stemming from relaxation processes in nuclear star clusters (NSCs), traditionally estimated to occur at rates of 10−4–10−5yr−1per galaxy. In this Letter, we propose an enhanced TDE rate through the AGN disk capture process, presenting a viable explanation for the frequent transitions observed in changing-look AGNs. Specifically, we investigate the interaction between the accretion disk and retrograde stars within NSCs, resulting in the rapid occurrence of TDEs within a condensed time frame. Through detailed calculations, we derive the time-dependent TDE rates for both relaxation-induced TDE and disk-captured TDE. Our analysis reveals that TDEs triggered by the disk capture process can notably amplify the TDE rate by several orders of magnitude during the AGN phase. This mechanism offers a potential explanation for the enhanced high-energy variability characteristic of changing-look AGNs.

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  3. Abstract

    We study the effects of general relativity (GR) on the evolution and alignment of circumbinary disks around binaries on all scales. We implement relativistic apsidal precession of the binary into the hydrodynamics codephantom. We find that the effects of GR can suppress the stable polar alignment of a circumbinary disk, depending on how the relativistic binary apsidal precession timescale compares to the disk nodal precession timescale. Studies of circumbinary disk evolution typically ignore the effects of GR, which is an appropriate simplification for low-mass or widely separated binary systems. In this case, polar alignment occurs, provided that the disks initial misalignment is sufficiently large. However, systems with a very short relativistic precession timescale cannot polar align and instead move toward coplanar alignment. In the intermediate regime where the timescales are similar, the outcome depends upon the properties of the disk. Polar alignment is more likely in the wavelike disk regime (where the disk viscosity parameter is less than the aspect ratio,α<H/r), since the disk is in good radial communication. In the viscous disk regime, disk breaking is more likely. Multiple rings can destructively interact with one another, resulting in short disk lifetimes and the disk moving toward coplanar alignment. Around main-sequence star or stellar mass black hole binaries, polar alignment may be suppressed far from the binary, but in general, the inner parts of the disk can align to polar. Polar alignment may be completely suppressed for disks around supermassive black holes for close binary separations.

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  4. Abstract

    The temperatures of observed protoplanetary disks are not sufficiently high to produce the accretion rate needed to form stars, nor are they sufficient to explain the volatile depletion patterns in CM, CO, and CV chondrites and terrestrial planets. We revisit the role that stellar outbursts, caused by high-accretion episodes, play in resolving these two issues. These outbursts provide the necessary mass to form the star during the disk lifetime and provide enough heat to vaporize planet-forming materials. We show that these outbursts can reproduce the observed chondrite abundances at distances near 1 au. These outbursts would also affect the growth of calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions and the isotopic compositions of carbonaceous and noncarbonaceous chondrites.

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    The hunt is on for dozens of protoplanets hypothesized to reside in protoplanetary discs with imaged gaps. How bright these planets are, and what they will grow to become, depend on their accretion rates, which may be in the runaway regime. Using 3D global simulations, we calculate maximum gas accretion rates for planet masses Mp from 1$\, \mathrm{ M}_{{\oplus }}$ to $10\, \mathrm{ M}_{\rm J}$. When the planet is small enough that its sphere of influence is fully embedded in the disc, with a Bondi radius rBondi smaller than the disc’s scale height Hp – such planets have thermal mass parameters qth ≡ (Mp/M⋆)/(Hp/Rp)3 ≲ 0.3, for host stellar mass M⋆ and orbital radius Rp – the maximum accretion rate follows a Bondi scaling, with $\max \dot{M}_{\rm p} \propto \rho _{\rm g}M_{\rm p}^2 / (H_{\rm p}/R_{\rm p})^3$ for ambient disc density ρg. For more massive planets with 0.3 ≲ qth ≲ 10, the Hill sphere replaces the Bondi sphere as the gravitational sphere of influence, and $\max \dot{M}_{\rm p} \propto \rho _{\rm g}M_{\rm p}^1$, with no dependence on Hp/Rp. In the strongly superthermal limit when qth ≳ 10, the Hill sphere pops well out of the disc, and $\max \dot{M}_{\rm p} \propto \rho _{\rm g}M_{\rm p}^{2/3} (H_{\rm p}/R_{\rm p})^1$. Applied to the two confirmed protoplanets PDS 70b and c, our numerically calibrated maximum accretion rates imply that their Jupiter-like masses may increase by up to a factor of ∼2 before their parent disc dissipates.

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    Recent high angular resolution ALMA observations have revealed numerous gaps in protoplanetary discs. A popular interpretation has been that planets open them. Most previous investigations of planet gap-opening have concentrated on viscous discs. Here, we carry out 2D (axisymmetric) global simulations of gap opening by a planet in a wind-launching non-ideal MHD disc with consistent thermochemistry. We find a strong concentration of poloidal magnetic flux in the planet-opened gap, where the gas dynamics are magnetically dominated. The magnetic field also drives a fast (nearly sonic) meridional gas circulation in the denser disc regions near the inner and outer edges of the gap, which may be observable through high-resolution molecular line observations. The gap is more ionized than its denser surrounding regions, with a better magnetic field–matter coupling. In particular, it has a much higher abundance of molecular ion HCO+, consistent with ALMA observations of the well-studied AS 209 protoplanetary disc that has prominent gaps and fast meridional motions reaching the local sound speed. Finally, we provide fitting formulae for the ambipolar and Ohmic diffusivities as a function of the disc local density, which can be used for future 3D simulations of planet gap-opening in non-ideal MHD discs where thermochemistry is too computationally expensive to evolve self-consistently with the magneto-hydrodynamics.

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  7. Abstract

    Dust particle sizes constrained from dust continuum and polarization observations by radio interferometry are inconsistent by at least an order of magnitude. Motivated by porous dust observed in small solar system bodies (e.g., from the Rosetta mission), we explore how the dust particle’s porosity affects the estimated particle sizes from these two methods. Porous particles have lower refractive indices, which affect both opacity and polarization fraction. With weaker Mie interference patterns, the porous particles have lower opacity at millimeter wavelengths than the compact particles if the particle size exceeds several hundred microns. Consequently, the inferred dust mass using porous particles can be up to a factor of six higher. The most significant difference between compact and porous particles is their scattering properties. The porous particles have a wider range of particle sizes with high linear polarization from dust self-scattering, allowing millimeter- to centimeter-sized particles to explain polarization observations. With a Bayesian approach, we use porous particles to fit HL Tau disk’s multiwavelength continuum and millimeter-polarization observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Very Large Array (VLA). The moderately porous particles with sizes from 1 mm–1 m can explain both continuum and polarization observations, especially in the region between 20 and 60 au. If the particles in HL Tau are porous, the porosity should be from 70%–97% from current polarization observations. We also predict that future observations of the self-scattering linear polarization at longer wavelengths (e.g., ALMA B1 and ngVLA) have the potential to further constrain the particle’s porosity and size.

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    Two-body scatterings under the potential of a massive object are very common in astrophysics. If the massive body is far enough away that the two small bodies are in their own gravitational sphere of influence, the gravity of the massive body can be temporarily ignored. However, this requires the scattering process to be fast enough that the small objects do not spend too much time at distances near the surface of the sphere of influence. In this paper, we derive the validation criteria for effective two-body scattering and establish a simple analytical solution for this process, which we verify through numerical scattering experiments. We use this solution to study star–black hole scatterings in the discs of active galactic nuclei and planet–planet scatterings in planetary systems, and calculate their one-dimensional cross-section analytically. Our solution will be valuable in reducing computational time when treating two-body scatterings under the potential of a much more massive third body, provided that the problem settings are in the valid parameter space region identified by our study.

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  9. Abstract

    Observations of substructure in protoplanetary disks have largely been limited to the brightest and largest disks, excluding the abundant population of compact disks, which are likely sites of planet formation. Here, we reanalyze ∼0.″1, 1.33 mm Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) continuum observations of 12 compact protoplanetary disks in the Taurus star-forming region. By fitting visibilities directly, we identify substructures in six of the 12 compact disks. We then compare the substructures identified in the full Taurus sample of 24 disks in single-star systems and the ALMA DSHARP survey, differentiating between compact (Reff,90%< 50 au) and extended (Reff,90%≥50 au) disk sources. We find that substructures are detected at nearly all radii in both small and large disks. Tentatively, we find fewer wide gaps in intermediate-sized disks withReff,90%between 30 and 90 au. We perform a series of planet–disk interaction simulations to constrain the sensitivity of our visibility-fitting approach. Under the assumption of planet–disk interaction, we use the gap widths and common disk parameters to calculate potential planet masses within the Taurus sample. We find that the young planet occurrence rate peaks near Neptune masses, similar to the DSHARP sample. For 0.01MJ/MMp/M*≲0.1MJ/M, the rate is 17.4% ± 8.3%; for 0.1MJ/MMp/M*≲1MJ/M, it is 27.8% ± 8.3%. Both of them are consistent with microlensing surveys. For gas giants more massive than 5MJ, the occurrence rate is 4.2% ± 4.2%, consistent with direct imaging surveys.

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    We describe the first grid-based simulations of the polar alignment of a circumbinary disc. We simulate the evolution of an inclined disc around an eccentric binary using the grid-based code athena++ . The use of a grid-based numerical code allows us to explore lower disc viscosities than have been examined in previous studies. We find that the disc aligns to a polar orientation when the α viscosity is high, while discs with lower viscosity nodally precess with little alignment over 1000 binary orbital periods. The time-scales for polar alignment and disc precession are compared as a function of disc viscosity, and are found to be in agreement with previous studies. At very low disc viscosities (e.g. α = 10−5), anticyclonic vortices are observed along the inner edge of the disc. These vortices can persist for thousands of binary orbits, creating azimuthally localized overdensities and multiple pairs of spiral arms. The vortex is formed at ∼3–4 times the binary semimajor axis, close to the inner edge of the disc, and orbits at roughly the local Keplerian speed. The presence of a vortex in the disc may play an important role in the evolution of circumbinary systems, such as driving episodic accretion and accelerating the formation of polar circumbinary planets.

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