Journal Article

Modelling circumbinary gas flows in close T Tauri binaries*

M. de Val-Borro, G. F. Gahm, H. C. Stempels and A. Pepliński

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 413, issue 4, pages 2679-2688
Published in print June 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Modelling circumbinary gas flows in close T Tauri binaries*

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Young close binaries open central gaps in the surrounding circumbinary accretion disc, but the stellar components may still gain mass from gas crossing through the gap. It is not well understood how this process operates and how the stellar components are affected by such inflows. Our main goal is to investigate how gas accretion takes place and evolves in close T Tauri binary systems. In particular, we model the accretion flows around two close T Tauri binaries, V4046 Sgr and DQ Tau, both showing periodic changes in emission lines, although their orbital characteristics are very different. In order to derive the density and velocity maps of the circumbinary material, we employ two-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations with a locally isothermal equation of state. The flow patterns become quasi-stable after a few orbits in the frame corotating with the system. Gas flows across the circumbinary gap through the corotating Lagrangian points, and local circumstellar discs develop around both components. Spiral density patterns develop in the circumbinary disc that transport angular momentum efficiently. Mass is preferentially channelled towards the primary and its circumstellar disc is more massive than the disc around the secondary. We also compare the derived density distribution to observed line profile variability. The line profile variability tracing the gas flows in the central cavity shows clear similarities with the corresponding observed line profile variability in V4046 Sgr, but only when the local circumstellar disc emission was excluded. Closer to the stars normal magnetospheric accretion may dominate, while further out the dynamic accretion process outlined here dominates. Periodic changes in the accretion rates on to the stars can explain the outbursts of line emission observed in eccentric systems such as DQ Tau.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; hydrodynamics; binaries: close; stars: individual: DQ Tau; stars: individual: V4046 Sgr; stars: pre-main-sequence

Journal Article.  7144 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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