Angular Momentum Transport in Astrophysical Disks Academic Article uri icon


  • The evolution of astrophysical disks is dominated by instabilities of gravity perturbations (e.g., those produced by a spontaneous disturbance). We develop a hydrodynamic theory of nonresonant Jeans instability in a dynam-ically cold subsystem (identified as the gaseous component) of a disk. We show analytically that gravitationally unstable systems, such as disks of rotationally supported galaxies, protoplanetary disks, and, finally, the solar nebula are efficient at transporting mass and angular momentum: already on a timescale of on the order of 2–3 rotational periods an unstable disk sees a large portion of its angular momentum transferred outward, and mass transferred both inward and outward.

publication date

  • January 1, 2008