Accretion discs as regulators of stellar angular momentum evolution in the ONC and Taurus-Auriga

Claire Davies, Scott Gregory, Jane Sophia Greaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


In light of recent substantial updates to spectral type estimations and newly established intrinsic colours, effective temperatures, and bolometric corrections for pre-main sequence (PMS) stars, we re-address the theory of accretion disc-regulated stellar angular momentum (AM) evolution. We report on the compilation of a consistent sample of fully convective stars within two of the most well-studied and youngest, nearby regions of star formation: the Orion nebula Cluster and Taurus-Auriga. We calculate the average specific stellar AM (j) assuming solid body rotation, using surface rotation periods gathered from the literature and new estimates of stellar radii and ages. We use published Spitzer IRAC fluxes to classify our stars as Class II or Class III and compare their j evolution. Our results suggest that disc dispersal is a rapid process that occurs at a variety of ages. We find a consistent jreduction rate between the Class II and Class III PMS stars which we interpret as indicating a period of accretion disc-regulated AM evolution followed by near-constant AM evolution once the disc has dissipated. Furthermore, assuming our observed spread in stellar ages is real, we find that the removal rate of j during the Class II phase is more rapid than expected by contraction at constant stellar rotation rate. A much more efficient process of AM removal must exist, most likely in the form of an accretion-driven stellar wind or other outflow from the star-disc interaction region or extended disc surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1157-1176
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Early online date27 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2014


  • Accretion, accretion discs
  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: late-type
  • Stars: pre-main-sequence
  • Stars: rotation
  • Stars: variables: T Tauri, Herbig Ae/Be
  • Pre-main sequence
  • Orion-nebula-cluster
  • Low-mass stars
  • Very-low mass
  • Observed luminosity spread
  • Color-magnitude diagrams
  • Fully convective star
  • Solar-type stars
  • X-ray-emission
  • T-Tauri


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