# Astronomy

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# Browsing Astronomy by Subject "accretion disks"

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Item Convergence studies of mass transport in disks with gravitational instabilities. I. the constant cooling time case(The American Astronomical Society, 2012) Michael, S.; Steiman-Cameron, T.Y.; Durisen, R.H.; Boley, A.C.We conduct a convergence study of a protostellar disk, subject to a constant global cooling time and susceptible to gravitational instabilities (GIs), at a time when heating and cooling are roughly balanced. Our goal is to determine the gravitational torques produced by GIs, the level to which transport can be represented by a simple α-disk formulation, and to examine fragmentation criteria. Four simulations are conducted, identical except for the number of azimuthal computational grid points used. A Fourier decomposition of non-axisymmetric density structures in cos ($m\phi$), sin ($m\phi$) is performed to evaluate the amplitudes $A_{m}$ of these structures. The $A_{m}$, gravitational torques, and the effective Shakura & Sunyaev α arising from gravitational stresses are determined for each resolution. We find nonzero $A_{m}$ for all $m$-values and that $A_{m}$ summed over all $m$ is essentially independent of resolution. Because the number of measurable $m$-values is limited to half the number of azimuthal grid points, higher-resolution simulations have a larger fraction of their total amplitude in higher-order structures. These structures act more locally than lower-order structures. Therefore, as the resolution increases the total gravitational stress decreases as well, leading higher-resolution simulations to experience weaker average gravitational torques than lower-resolution simulations. The effective $\alpha$ also depends upon the magnitude of the stresses, thus $\alpha_{\text{eff}}$ also decreases with increasing resolution. Our converged $\alpha_{\text{eff}}$ is consistent with predictions from an analytic local theory for thin disks by Gammie, but only over many dynamic times when averaged over a substantial volume of the disk.