Spiral shocks and accretion in discs

H. C. Spruit, T. Matsuda, M. Inoue, K. Sawada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


Recent numerical and analytical results on disc-like accretion with shock waves as the only dissipation mechanism are compared. The global properties of the process are similar to those of the viscous (α) disc model, but precise values of the effective α value as a function of the accretion rate can be calculated. At low values of the ratio of specific heats (γ<1.45) accretion is possible without radiative losses. Such adiabatic accretion can occur in practice at high accretion rates on to low mass objects and may be important in the formation of planets. Following Donner, and Lynden-Bell, it is pointed out that non-axisymmetric perturbations in the outer parts of a disc increase in amplitude as they propagate in and cause spiral shocks more easily in a disc than perturbations originating in the inner parts. It is suggested for this reason that the cause of spiral structure in normal spiral galaxies lies in moderate non-axisymmetries in their gaseous outer discs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-527
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1987 Dec
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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