The gravitational instability in the dust layer of a protoplanetary disk with nonuniform dust density distributions in the direction vertical to the midplane is investigated. The linear analysis of the gravitational instability is performed. The following assumptions are used: (1) One fluid model is adopted, that is, difference of velocities between dust and gas are neglected. (2) The gas is incompressible. (3) Models are axisymmetric with respect to the rotation axis of the disk. Numerical results show that the critical density at the midplane is higher than the one for the uniform dust density distribution by Sekiya (1983, Prog. Theor. Phys. 69, 1116-1130). For the Gaussian dust density distribution, the critical density is 1.3 times higher, although we do not consider this dust density distribution to be realistic because of the shear instability in the dust layer. For the dust density distribution with a constant Richardson number, which is considered to be realized due to the shear instability, the critical density is 2.85 times higher and is independent of the value of the Richardson number. Further, if a constant Richardson number could decrease to the order of 0.001, the gravitational instability would be realized even for the dust to gas surface density ratio with the solar abundance. Our results give a new restriction on planetesimal formation by the gravitational instability. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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