Journal Article

Classification of the circumstellar disc evolution during the main accretion phase

Yusuke Tsukamoto and Masahiro N. Machida

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 416, issue 1, pages 591-600
Published in print September 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19081.x
Classification of the circumstellar disc evolution during the main accretion phase

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We performed hydrodynamical simulations to investigate the formation and evolution of protostars and circumstellar discs from the pre-stellar cloud. As the initial state, we adopted the molecular cloud core with two non-dimensional parameters representing the thermal and rotational energies. With these parameters, we derived 17 models and calculated the cloud evolution ∼104 yr after the protostar formation. We found that early evolution of the star–disc system can be qualitatively classified into four modes: the massive-disc, early-fragmentation, late-fragmentation, and protostar-dominant modes. In the ‘massive-disc mode’, to which the majority of models belong, the disc mass is greater than the protostellar mass for over 104 yr and no fragmentation occurs in the circumstellar disc. The collapsing cloud shows fragmentation before the protostar formation in the ‘early-fragmentation mode’. The circumstellar disc shows fragmentation after the protostar formation in the ‘late-fragmentation mode’, in which the secondary star gains most of its mass from the circumstellar disc after fragmentation and has a mass comparable to that of the primary star. The protostellar mass rapidly increases and exceeds the circumstellar disc mass in the ‘protostar-dominant mode’. This mode appears only when the initial molecular cloud core has a very small rotational energy. Comparison of our results with observations indicates that the majority of protostars have a fairly massive disc during the main accretion phase: the circumstellar disc mass is comparable to or more massive than the protostar mass. It is expected that such a massive disc promotes gas-giant formation by gravitational instability in a subsequent evolutionary stage.

Keywords: hydrodynamics; planets and satellites: formation; circumstellar matter; stars: formation

Journal Article.  5744 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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