Journal Article

Stellar, brown dwarf and multiple star properties from hydrodynamical simulations of star cluster formation

Matthew R. Bate

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 392, issue 2, pages 590-616
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Stellar, brown dwarf and multiple star properties from hydrodynamical simulations of star cluster formation

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We report the statistical properties of stars, brown dwarfs and multiple systems obtained from the largest hydrodynamical simulation of star cluster formation to date that resolves masses down to the opacity limit for fragmentation (a few Jupiter masses). The simulation is essentially identical to that of Bate, Bonnell & Bromm except that the initial molecular cloud is larger and more massive. It produces more than 1250 stars and brown dwarfs, providing unprecedented statistical information that can be compared with observational surveys. The calculation uses sink particles to model the stars and brown dwarfs. Part of the calculation is rerun with smaller sink particle accretion radii and gravitational softening to investigate the effect of these approximations on the results.

We find that hydrodynamical/sink particle simulations can reproduce many of the observed stellar properties very well. Multiplicity as a function of the primary mass, the frequency of very low mass (VLM) binaries, general trends for the separation and mass ratio distributions of binaries and the relative orbital orientations of triples systems are all in reasonable agreement with observations. We also examine the radial variations of binarity, velocity dispersion and mass function in the resulting stellar cluster and the distributions of disc truncation radii due to dynamical interactions. For VLM binaries, because their separations are typically close, we find that their frequency is sensitive to the sink particle accretion radii and gravitational softening used in the calculations. Using small accretion radii and gravitational softening results in a frequency of VLM binaries similar to that expected from observational surveys (≈20 per cent). We also find that VLM binaries evolve from wide, unequal-mass systems towards close equal-mass systems as they form. The two main deficiencies of the calculations are that they overproduce brown dwarfs relative to stars and that there are too few unequal-mass binaries with K- and G-dwarf primaries. The former of these is likely due to the absence of radiative feedback and/or magnetic fields.

Keywords: binaries: general; stars: formation; stars: kinematics; stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs; stars: luminosity function, mass function; ISM: clouds

Journal Article.  22354 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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