3,725 research outputs found

    Stellar evolution before the ZAMS

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    Young stars on their way to the ZAMS evolve in significantly different ways depending on mass. While the theoretical and observational properties of low- and intermediate-mass stars are rather well understood and/or empirically tested, the situation for massive stars (>10-15 Msun) is, to say the least, still elusive. On theoretical grounds, the PMS evolution of these objects should be extremely short, or nonexistent at all. Observationally, despite a great deal of effort, the simple (or bold) predictions of simplified models of massive star formation/evolution have proved more difficult to be checked. After a brief review of the theoretical expectations, I will highlight some critical test on young stars of various masses.Comment: To appear in Massive Star Birth: A Crossroads fro Astrophysics, eds. R. Cesaroni et al. (CUP

    The Pre--Main-Sequence of A-type stars

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    Young A-type stars in the pre--main-sequence (PMS) evolutionary phase are particularly interesting objects since they cover the mass range (1.5-4 solar ma sses) which is most sensitive to the internal conditions inherited during the protostellar phase. In particular, they undergo a process of thermal relaxation from which they emerge as fully radiative objects contracting towards the main sequence. A-type stars also show intense surface activity (including winds, accretion, pulsations) whose origin is still not completely understood, and infrared excesses related to the presence of circumstellar disks and envelopes. Disks display significant evolution in the dust properties, likely signalling the occurrence of protoplanetary growth. Finally, A-type stars are generally found in multiple systems and small aggregates of lower mass companions.Comment: 10 pages, 6 postscript figures, Proceedings of IAU Symp 224 (Poprad July 2004

    Post-T Tauri stars: a false problem

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    We consider the problem of the apparent lack of old T Tauri stars in low-mass star forming regions in the framework of the standard model of low-mass star formation. We argue that the similarity between molecular cloud lifetime and ambipolar diffusion timescale implies that star formation does not take place instantaneously, nor at a constant rate. We conclude that the probability of finding a large population of old stars in a star forming region is intrinsically very small and that the post-T Tauri problem is by and large not existent.Comment: 6 pages (LaTeX), no Figures to be published in The Astrophysical Journal Letter

    Non-thermal photons and H2 formation in the early Universe

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    The cosmological recombination of H and He at z \sim 1000 and the formation of H2 during the dark ages produce a non-thermal photon excess in the Wien tail of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) blackbody spectrum. Here we compute the effect of these photons on the H- photodetachment and H2+ photodissociation processes. We discuss the implications for the chemical evolution of the Universe in the post-recombination epoch, emphasizing how important a detailed account of the full vibrational manifold of H2 and H2+ in the chemical network is. We find that the final abundances of H2, H2+, H3+ and HD are significantly smaller than in previous calculations that neglected the effect of non-thermal photons. The suppression is mainly caused by extra hydrogen recombination photons and could affect the formation rate of first stars. We provide simple analytical approximations for the relevant rate coefficients and briefly discuss the additional effect of dark matter annihilation on the considered reaction rates.Comment: 10 pages, 12 figures, 1 table; accepted for publication in MNRA

    Massive black hole factories: Supermassive and quasi-star formation in primordial halos

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    Supermassive stars and quasi-stars (massive stars with a central black hole) are both considered as potential progenitors for the formation of supermassive black holes. They are expected to form from rapidly accreting protostars in massive primordial halos. We explore how long rapidly accreting protostars remain on the Hayashi track, implying large protostellar radii and weak accretion luminosity feedback. We assess the potential role of energy production in the nuclear core, and determine what regulates the evolution of such protostars into quasi-stars or supermassive stars. We follow the contraction of characteristic mass scales in rapidly accreting protostars, and infer the timescales for them to reach nuclear densities. We compare the characteristic timescales for nuclear burning with those for which the extended protostellar envelope can be maintained. We find that the extended envelope can be maintained up to protostellar masses of 3.6x10^8 \dot{m}^3 solar, where \dot{m} denotes the accretion rate in solar masses per year. We expect the nuclear core to exhaust its hydrogen content in 7x10^6 yrs. If accretion rates \dot{m}>>0.14 can still be maintained at this point, a black hole may form within the accreting envelope, leading to a quasi-star. Alternatively, the accreting object will gravitationally contract to become a main-sequence supermassive star. Due to the limited gas reservoir in dark matter halos with 10^7 solar masses, the accretion rate onto the central object may drop at late times, implying the formation of supermassive stars as the typical outcome of direct collapse. However, if high accretion rates are maintained, a quasi-star with an interior black hole may form.Comment: 9 pages, 4 figures, submitted to A&A. Comments are welcom
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