2,192 research outputs found

    Collapse of a Molecular Cloud Core to Stellar Densities: The First Three-Dimensional Calculations

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    We present results from the first three-dimensional calculations ever to follow the collapse of a molecular cloud core (~ 10^{-18} g cm^{-3}) to stellar densities (> 0.01 g cm^{-3}). The calculations resolve structures over 7 orders of magnitude in spatial extent (~ 5000 AU - 0.1 R_\odot), and over 17 orders of magnitude in density contrast. With these calculations, we consider whether fragmentation to form a close binary stellar system can occur during the second collapse phase. We find that, if the quasistatic core that forms before the second collapse phase is dynamically unstable to the growth of non-axisymmetric perturbations, the angular momentum extracted from the central regions of the core, via gravitational torques, is sufficient to prevent fragmentation and the formation of a close binary during the subsequent second collapse.Comment: ApJ Letters, in press (will appear in Nov 20 issue; available from the ApJ Rapid Release web page). 7 pages, incl. 5 figures. Also available at http://www.mpia-hd.mpg.de/theory/bat

    The effect of magnetic fields on star cluster formation

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    We examine the effect of magnetic fields on star cluster formation by performing simulations following the self-gravitating collapse of a turbulent molecular cloud to form stars in ideal MHD. The collapse of the cloud is computed for global mass-to-flux ratios of infinity, 20, 10, 5 and 3, that is using both weak and strong magnetic fields. Whilst even at very low strengths the magnetic field is able to significantly influence the star formation process, for magnetic fields with plasma beta < 1 the results are substantially different to the hydrodynamic case. In these cases we find large-scale magnetically-supported voids imprinted in the cloud structure; anisotropic turbulent motions and column density structure aligned with the magnetic field lines, both of which have recently been observed in the Taurus molecular cloud. We also find strongly suppressed accretion in the magnetised runs, leading to up to a 75% reduction in the amount of mass converted into stars over the course of the calculations and a more quiescent mode of star formation. There is also some indication that the relative formation efficiency of brown dwarfs is lower in the strongly magnetised runs due to the reduction in the importance of protostellar ejections.Comment: 16 pages, 9 figures, 8 very pretty movies, MNRAS, accepted. Version with high-res figures + movies available from http://www.astro.ex.ac.uk/people/dprice/pubs/mcluster/index.htm

    The thermodynamics of collapsing molecular cloud cores using smoothed particle hydrodynamics with radiative transfer

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    We present the results of a series of calculations studying the collapse of molecular cloud cores performed using a three-dimensional smoothed particle hydr odynamics code with radiative transfer in the flux-limited diffusion approximation. The opacities and specific heat capacities are identical for each calculation. However, we find that the temperature evolution during the simulations varies significantly when starting from different initial conditions. Even spherically-symmetric clouds with different initial densities show markedly different development. We conclude that simple barotropic equations of state like those used in some previous calculations provide at best a crude approximation to the thermal behaviour of the gas. Radiative transfer is necessary to obtain accurate temperatures.Comment: 8 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in MNRA

    Formation of Globular Clusters in Galaxy Mergers

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    We present a high-resolution simulation of globular cluster formation in a galaxy merger. For the first time in such a simulation, individual star clusters are directly identified and followed on their orbits. We quantitatively compare star formation in the merger to that in the unperturbed galaxies. The merging galaxies show a strong starburst, in sharp contrast to their isolated progenitors. Most star clusters form in the tidal features. With a mass range of 5×1055\times10^{5}--5×106M⊙5\times 10^{6} M_{\odot}, they are identified as globular clusters. The merger remnant is an elliptical galaxy. Clusters with different mass or age have different radial distributions in the galaxy. Our results show that the high specific frequency and bimodal distribution of metallicity observed in elliptical galaxies are natural products of gas-rich mergers, supporting a merger origin for the ellipticals and their globular cluster systems.Comment: ApJL accepted, version with high quality color images can be found in http://research.amnh.org/~yuexing/astro-ph/0407248.pd

    Simulations of Stellar Collisions Involving Pre-Main Sequence Stars

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    In this paper, we present the results of smoothed particle hydrodynamic (SPH) simulations of collisions between pre-main sequence stars and a variety of other kinds of stars. Simulations over a range of impact parameters and velocities were performed. We find that pre-main sequence stars tend to ``wrap themselves'' around their impactor. We discuss the probable evolutionary state of products of collisions between pre-main sequence stars and pre-main sequence, main sequence, giant branch, and compact stars. The nature of the collision product does not depend strongly on the impact parameter or the velocity of the collision.Comment: Accepted by Ap

    The morphology of the Milky Way - II. Reconstructing CO maps from disc galaxies with live stellar distributions

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    The arm structure of the Milky Way remains somewhat of an unknown, with observational studies hindered by our location within the Galactic disc. In the work presented here we use smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) and radiative transfer to create synthetic longitude-velocity observations. Our aim is to reverse-engineer a top down map of the Galaxy by comparing synthetic longitude-velocity maps to those observed. We set up a system of N-body particles to represent the disc and bulge, allowing for dynamic creation of spiral features. Interstellar gas, and the molecular content, is evolved alongside the stellar system. A 3D-radiative transfer code is then used to compare the models to observational data. The resulting models display arm features that are a good reproduction of many of the observed emission structures of the Milky Way. These arms however are dynamic and transient, allowing for a wide range of morphologies not possible with standard density wave theory. The best fitting models are a much better match than previous work using fixed potentials. They favour a 4-armed model with a pitch angle of approximately 20 degrees, though with a pattern speed that decreases with increasing Galactic radius. Inner bars are lacking however, which appear required to fully reproduce the central molecular zone.Comment: 16 pages, 15 figures, accepted by MNRA

    Stellar Encounters with Massive Star-Disk Systems

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    The dense, clustered environment in which massive stars form can lead to interactions with neighboring stars. It has been hypothesized that collisions and mergers may contribute to the growth of the most massive stars. In this paper we extend the study of star-disk interactions to explore encounters between a massive protostar and a less massive cluster sibling using the publicly available SPH code GADGET-2. Collisions do not occur in the parameter space studied, but the end state of many encounters is an eccentric binary with a semi-major axis ~ 100 AU. Disk material is sometimes captured by the impactor. Most encounters result in disruption and destruction of the initial disk, and periodic torquing of the remnant disk. We consider the effect of the changing orientation of the disk on an accretion driven jet, and the evolution of the systems in the presence of on-going accretion from the parent core.Comment: 11 pages, 10 figures, accepted to Ap

    Formation of the First Supermassive Black Holes

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    We consider the physical conditions under which supermassive black holes could have formed inside the first galaxies. Our SPH simulations indicate that metal-free galaxies with a virial temperature ~10^4 K and with suppressed H2 formation (due to an intergalactic UV background) tend to form a binary black hole system which contains a substantial fraction (>10%) of the total baryonic mass of the host galaxy. Fragmentation into stars is suppressed without substantial H2 cooling. Our simulations follow the condensation of ~5x10^6 M_sun around the two centers of the binary down to a scale of < 0.1pc. Low-spin galaxies form a single black hole instead. These early black holes lead to quasar activity before the epoch of reionization. Primordial black hole binaries lead to the emission of gravitational radiation at redshifts z>10 that would be detectable by LISA.Comment: 11 pages, 9 figures, revised version, ApJ in press (October 10, 2003

    Astrometric signatures of self-gravitating protoplanetary discs

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    We use high resolution numerical simulations to study whether gravitational instabilities within circumstellar discs can produce astrometrically detectable motion of the central star. For discs with masses of M_disc = 0.1 M_star, which are permanantly stable against fragmentation, we find that the magnitude of the astrometric signal depends upon the efficiency of disc cooling. Short cooling times produce prominent filamentary spiral structures in the disc, and lead to stellar motions that are potentially observable with future high precision astrometric experiments. For a disc that is marginally unstable within radii of \~10 au, we estimate astrometric displacements of 10-100 microarcsec on decade timescales for a star at a distance of 100 pc. The predicted displacement is suppressed by a factor of several in more stable discs in which the cooling time exceeds the local dynamical time by an order of magnitude. We find that the largest contribution comes from material in the outer regions of the disc and hence, in the most pessimistic scenario, the stellar motions caused by the disc could confuse astrometric searches for low mass planets orbiting at large radii. They are, however, unlikely to present any complications in searches for embedded planets orbiting at small radii, relative to the disc size, or Jupiter mass planets or greater orbiting at large radii.Comment: 6 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in MNRA
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