Competitive accretion in embedded stellar clusters

Ian Alexander Bonnell, MR Bate, CJ Clarke, JE Pringle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

433 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigate the physics of gas accretion in young stellar clusters. Accretion in clusters is a dynamic phenomenon as both the stars and the gas respond to the same gravitational potential. Accretion rates are highly non-uniform with stars nearer the centre of the cluster, where gas densities are higher, accreting more than others. This competitive accretion naturally results in both initial mass segregation and a spectrum of stellar masses. Accretion in gas-dominated clusters is well modelled using a tidal-lobe radius instead of the commonly used Bondi-Hoyle accretion radius. This works as both the stellar and gas velocities are under the influence of the same gravitational potential and are thus comparable. The low relative velocity which results means that R-tidal < R-BH in these systems. In contrast, when the stars dominate the potential and are virialized, R-BH < R-tidal and Bondi-Hoyle accretion is a better fit to the accretion rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-794
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume323
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2001

Keywords

  • stars : formation
  • stars : luminosity function, mass function
  • open clusters and associations : general
  • ORION NEBULA CLUSTER
  • PROTOBINARY SYSTEMS
  • MOLECULAR CLOUD
  • STAR
  • EVOLUTION
  • DYNAMICS

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