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Low-metallicity star formation: relative impact of metals and magnetic fields


Peters, T; Schleicher, D R G; Smith, R J; Schmidt, W; Klessen, R S (2014). Low-metallicity star formation: relative impact of metals and magnetic fields. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 442(4):3112-3126.

Abstract

Low-metallicity star formation poses a central problem of cosmology, as it determines the characteristic mass scale and distribution for the first and second generations of stars forming in our Universe. Here, we present a comprehensive investigation assessing the relative impact of metals and magnetic fields, which may both be present during low-metallicity star formation. We show that the presence of magnetic fields generated via the small-scale dynamo stabilizes the protostellar disc and provides some degree of support against fragmentation. In the absence of magnetic fields, the fragmentation time-scale in our model decreases by a factor of ˜10 at the transition from Z = 0 to Z > 0, with subsequently only a weak dependence on metallicity. Similarly, the accretion time-scale of the cluster is set by the large-scale dynamics rather than the local thermodynamics. In the presence of magnetic fields, the primordial disc can become completely stable, therefore forming only one central fragment. At Z > 0, the number of fragments is somewhat reduced in the presence of magnetic fields, though the shape of the mass spectrum is not strongly affected in the limits of the statistical uncertainties. The fragmentation time-scale, however, increases by roughly a factor of 3 in the presence of magnetic fields. Indeed, our results indicate comparable fragmentation time-scales in primordial runs without magnetic fields and Z > 0 runs with magnetic fields.

Abstract

Low-metallicity star formation poses a central problem of cosmology, as it determines the characteristic mass scale and distribution for the first and second generations of stars forming in our Universe. Here, we present a comprehensive investigation assessing the relative impact of metals and magnetic fields, which may both be present during low-metallicity star formation. We show that the presence of magnetic fields generated via the small-scale dynamo stabilizes the protostellar disc and provides some degree of support against fragmentation. In the absence of magnetic fields, the fragmentation time-scale in our model decreases by a factor of ˜10 at the transition from Z = 0 to Z > 0, with subsequently only a weak dependence on metallicity. Similarly, the accretion time-scale of the cluster is set by the large-scale dynamics rather than the local thermodynamics. In the presence of magnetic fields, the primordial disc can become completely stable, therefore forming only one central fragment. At Z > 0, the number of fragments is somewhat reduced in the presence of magnetic fields, though the shape of the mass spectrum is not strongly affected in the limits of the statistical uncertainties. The fragmentation time-scale, however, increases by roughly a factor of 3 in the presence of magnetic fields. Indeed, our results indicate comparable fragmentation time-scales in primordial runs without magnetic fields and Z > 0 runs with magnetic fields.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Date:August 2014
Deposited On:01 Oct 2014 12:27
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:23
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0035-8711
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stu1097

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