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Astron. Astrophys. 358, 378-394 (2000)

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On the transition to self-gravity in low mass AGN and YSO accretion discs

J.-M. Huré 1,2

1 DAEC et UMR 8631 du CNRS, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, Place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
2 Université Paris 7 (Denis Diderot), 2 Place Jussieu, 75251 Paris Cedex 05, France (Jean-Marc.Hure@obspm.fr)

Received 31 March 2000 / Accepted 11 April 2000


The equations governing the vertical structure of a stationary keplerian accretion disc supporting an Eddington atmosphere are presented. The model is based on the [FORMULA]-prescription for turbulent viscosity (two versions are tested), includes the disc vertical self-gravity, convective transport and turbulent pressure. We use an accurate equation of state and wide opacity grids which combine the Rosseland and Planck absorption means through a depth-dependent weighting function. The numerical method is based on single side shooting and incorporates algorithms designed for stiff initial value problems. A few properties of the model are discussed for a circumstellar disc around a sun-like star and a disc feeding a [FORMULA] [FORMULA] central black hole. Various accretion rates and [FORMULA]-parameter values are considered.

We show the strong sensitivity of the disc structure to the viscous energy deposition towards the vertical axis, specially when entering inside the self-gravitating part of the disc. The local version of the [FORMULA]-prescription leads to a "singular" behavior which is also predicted by the vertically averaged model: there is an extremely violent density and surface density runaway, a rapid disc collapse and a temperature plateau. With respect, a much softer transition is observed with the "[FORMULA]-formalism". Turbulent pressure is important only for [FORMULA]. It lowers vertical density gradients, significantly thickens the disc (increases its flaring), tends to wash out density inversions occurring in the upper layers and pushes the self-gravitating region to slightly larger radii. Curves localizing the inner edge of the self-gravitating disc as functions of the viscosity parameter and accretion rate are given. The lower [FORMULA], the closer to the center the self-gravitating regime, and the sensitivity to the accretion rate is generally weak, except for [FORMULA].

This study suggests that models aiming to describe T-Tauri discs beyond about a few to a few tens astronomical units (depending on the viscosity parameter) from the central protostar using the [FORMULA]-theory should consider vertical self-gravity, but additional heating mechanisms are necessary to account for large discs. The Primitive Solar Nebula was probably a bit (if not strongly) self-gravitating at the actual orbit of giant planets. In agreement with vertically averaged computations, [FORMULA]-discs hosted by active galaxies are self-gravitating beyond about a thousand Schwarzchild radii. The inferred surface density remains too high to lower the accretion time scale as requested to fuel steadily active nuclei for a few hundred millions years. More efficient mechanisms driving accretion are required.

Key words: accretion, accretion disks – equation of state – stars: formation – galaxies: active – galaxies: nuclei

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: June 26, 2000