Wednesday, June 19, 2013

1306.4074 (Eduard Vorobyov et al.)

Fragmenting protostellar disks: properties and observational signatures    [PDF]

Eduard Vorobyov, Olga Zakhozhay, Michael Dunham
Using numerical hydrodynamic simulations, we study the gravitational fragmentation of an unstable protostellar disc formed during the collapse of a pre-stellar core with a mass of 1.2 M_sun. The forming fragments span a mass range from about a Jupiter mass to very-low-mass protostars and are located at distances from a few tens to a thousand AU, with a dearth of objects at < 100 AU. We explore the possibility of observational detection of the fragments in discs viewed through the outflow cavity at a distance of 250 pc. We demonstrate that one hour of integration time with the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) is sufficient to detect the fragments with masses as low as 1.5 M_Jup at orbital distances up to 800 AU from the protostar. The ALMA resolution sets the limit on the minimum orbital distance of detectable fragments. For the adopted resolution of our simulated ALMA images of 0.1", the fragments can be detected at distances down to 50 AU. At smaller distances, the fragments usually merge with the central density peak. The likelihood for detecting the fragments reduces significantly for a lower resolution of 0.5". Some of the most massive fragments, regardless of their orbital distance, can produce characteristic peaks at approximately 5 micron and hence their presence can be indirectly inferred from the observed spectral energy distributions of protostars.
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