Evaporation of icy planetesimals due to bow shocks

Kyoko K. Tanaka, Tetsuo Yamamoto, Hidekazu Tanaka, Hitoshi Miura, Makiko Nagasawa, Taishi Nakamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


We present the novel concept of evaporation of planetesimals as a result of bow shocks associated with planetesimals orbiting with supersonic velocities relative to the gas in a protoplanetary disk. We evaluate the evaporation rates of the planetesimals based on a simple model describing planetesimal heating and evaporation by the bow shock. We find that icy planetesimals with radius ≳100 km evaporate efficiently even outside the snow line in the stage of planetary oligarchic growth, where strong bow shocks are produced by gravitational perturbations from protoplanets. The obtained results suggest that the formation of gas giant planets is suppressed owing to insufficient accretion of icy planetesimals onto the protoplanet within the ≲5 AU disk region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Feb 20


  • comets: general
  • minor planets, asteroids: general
  • planets and satellites: formation
  • shock waves


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