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[en] High signal-to-noise ratio 5-8 μm spectra of four sources embedded in molecular clouds are presented. All four sources show evidence for the presence of absorption features. The shape of these features changes, however, dramatically from source to source. They range from two relatively narrow bands at 6.0 and 6.8 μm in W33A to a broad, shallow feature, which extends from about 5.2 to 7.8 μm and shows some structure, in Mon R2-IRS2, BN, and NGC 2264
[en] New models are presented for star-forming condensations in clusters. In each model, the condensation mass increases linearly with radius on small scales, and more rapidly on large scales, as in 'thermal-nonthermal' models. Spherical condensations with this structure form protostars which match the initial mass function if their infall is subject to equally likely stopping. However, such spherical models do not match the filamentary nature of cluster gas, and they are too extended to form protostars having high mass and short spacing. Two hybrid models are presented, which are spherical on small scales and filamentary on large scales. In and around clusters, cores embedded in linear filaments match the elongation of cluster gas, and the central concentration of low-mass stars. In cluster centers, condensations require a low volume-filling factor to produce massive stars with short spacing. These may have stellate shape, where cores are nodes of filamentary networks, as seen in some simulations of colliding flows and collapsing turbulent clumps. A dense configuration of such stellate condensations may be indistinguishable from a clump forming multiple protostars via filamentary flow paths.
[en] We present a study of dense molecular gas kinematics in 17 nearby protostellar systems using single-dish and interferometric molecular line observations. The non-axisymmetric envelopes around a sample of Class 0/I protostars were mapped in the N2H+ (J = 1 → 0) tracer with the IRAM 30 m, CARMA, and Plateau de Bure Interferometer, as well as NH3 (1,1) with the Very Large Array. The molecular line emission is used to construct line-center velocity and linewidth maps for all sources to examine the kinematic structure in the envelopes on spatial scales from 0.1 pc to ∼1000 AU. The direction of the large-scale velocity gradients from single-dish mapping is within 450 of normal to the outflow axis in more than half the sample. Furthermore, the velocity gradients are often quite substantial, the average being ∼2.3 km s-1 pc-1. The interferometric data often reveal small-scale velocity structure, departing from the more gradual large-scale velocity gradients. In some cases, this likely indicates accelerating infall and/or rotational spin-up in the inner envelope; the median velocity gradient from the interferometric data is ∼10.7 km s-1 pc-1. In two systems, we detect high-velocity HCO+ (J = 1 → 0) emission inside the highest-velocity N2H+ emission. This enables us to study the infall and rotation close to the disk and estimate the central object masses. The velocity fields observed on large and small scales are more complex than would be expected from rotation alone, suggesting that complex envelope structure enables other dynamical processes (i.e., infall) to affect the velocity field.
[en] Accretion disks that become gravitationally unstable can fragment into stellar or substellar companions. The formation and survival of these fragments depends on the precarious balance between self-gravity, internal pressure, tidal shearing, and rotation. Disk fragmentation depends on two key factors: (1) whether the disk can get to the fragmentation boundary of Q = 1 and (2) whether fragments can survive for many orbital periods. Previous work suggests that to reach Q = 1, and have fragments survive, a disk must cool on an orbital timescale. Here we show that disks heated primarily by external irradiation always satisfy the standard cooling time criterion. Thus, even though irradiation heats disks and makes them more stable in general, once they reach the fragmentation boundary, they fragment more easily. We derive a new cooling criterion that determines fragment survival and calculate a pressure-modified Hill radius, which sets the maximum size of pressure-supported objects in a Keplerian disk. We conclude that fragmentation in protostellar disks might occur at slightly smaller radii than previously thought and recommend tests for future simulations that will better predict the outcome of fragmentation in real disks.
[en] The protostellar mass function (PMF) is the present-day mass function of the protostars in a region of star formation. It is determined by the initial mass function weighted by the accretion time. The PMF thus depends on the accretion history of protostars and in principle provides a powerful tool for observationally distinguishing different protostellar accretion models. We consider three basic models here: the isothermal sphere model, the turbulent core model, and an approximate representation of the competitive accretion model. We also consider modified versions of these accretion models, in which the accretion rate tapers off linearly in time. Finally, we allow for an overall acceleration in the rate of star formation. At present, it is not possible to directly determine the PMF since protostellar masses are not currently measurable. We carry out an approximate comparison of predicted PMFs with observation by using the theory to infer the conditions in the ambient medium in several star-forming regions. Tapered and accelerating models generally agree better with observed star formation times than models without tapering or acceleration, but uncertainties in the accretion models and in the observations do not allow one to rule out any of the proposed models at present. The PMF is essential for the calculation of the protostellar luminosity function, however, and this enables stronger conclusions to be drawn.
[en] The pressure due to the radiation from the Sun and neighboring protostars may have forced the coagulation into comets of the dust grains in the collapsing layers of the protosun at r = (1-5) x 103 AU. The grains were forced together by their self-shielding, which results in the radiation pressure due to photons coming from the direction of strong concentrations of dust being less than the pressure due to photons coming from a direction having a low concentration of dust. This causes the dust to drift toward regions of already strong dust concentration. The formation of comets under these conditions is consistent with the low rotation period of new comets and their extremely volatile chemical constituents
[en] We present a 0.″15 resolution (21 au) ALMA 870 μm continuum survey of 25 pointings containing 31 young stellar objects in the Ophiuchus molecular clouds. Using the dust continuum as a proxy for dust mass and circumstellar disk radius in our sample, we report mean masses of and M ⊕ and mean radii of and au, for Class I and Flat spectrum protostars, respectively. In addition, we calculate the multiplicity statistics of the dust surrounding young stellar objects in Ophiuchus. The multiplicity fraction and companion star fraction of the combined Class I and Flats based solely on this work are 0.25 ± 0.09 and 0.33 ± 0.10, respectively, which are consistent with the values for Perseus and Orion. While we see clear differences in mass and radius between the Ophiuchus and Perseus/Orion protostellar surveys, we do not see any significant differences in the multiplicities of the various regions. We posit that there are some differences in the conditions for star formation in Ophiuchus that strongly affect disk size (and consequently disk mass), but does not affect system multiplicity, which could imply important variation in planet formation processes.
[en] In order to test the hypothesis that Class I protostellar binary stars are a product of ejections during the dynamical decay of nonhierarchical multiple systems, we combined the results of new adaptive optics (AO) observations of Class I protostars with our previously published AO data to investigate whether Class I protostars with a widely separated companion (r > 200 AU) are more likely to also have a close companion (r < 200 AU). In total, we observed 47 embedded young stellar objects (YSOs) with either the Subaru natural guide star AO system or the Keck laser guide star AO system. We found that targets with a widely separated companion within 5000 AU are not more likely to have a close companion. However, targets with another YSO within a projected separation of 25,000 AU are much more likely to have a close companion. Most importantly, every target with a close companion has another YSO within a projected separation of 25,000 AU. We came to the same conclusions after considering a restricted sample of targets within 500 pc and close companions wider than 50 AU to minimize incompleteness effects. The Orion star-forming region was found to have an excess of both close binaries and YSOs within 25,000 AU compared to other star-forming regions. We interpret these observations as strong evidence that many close Class I binary stars form via ejections and that many of the ejected stars become unbound during the Class I phase.