Formation of stellar clusters

Romas Smilgys, Ian Alexander Bonnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigate the triggering of star formation and the formation of stellar clusters in molecular clouds which form as the interstellar medium passes through spiral shocks. The spiral shock compresses gas into an ∼100 pc long main star formation ridge, where clusters form every 5–10 pc along the merger ridge. We use a gravitational potential-based cluster finding algorithm, which extracts individual clusters, calculates their physical properties and traces cluster evolution over multiple time-steps. Final cluster masses at the end of simulation range between 1000 and 30 000 M⊙ with their characteristic half-mass radii between 0.1 and 2 pc. These clusters form by gathering material from 10–20 pc size scales. Clusters also show a mass-specific angular momentum relation, where more massive clusters have larger specific angular momentum due to the larger size scales, and hence angular momentum from which they gather their mass. The evolution shows that more massive clusters experience hierarchical merging process, which increases stellar age spreads up to 2–3 Myr. Less massive clusters appear to grow by gathering nearby recently formed sinks, while more massive clusters with their large global gravitational potentials are increasing their mass growth from gas accretion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4982-4991
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume472
Issue number4
Early online date11 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: luminosity function, mass function
  • Open clusters and associations: general
  • Galaxies: star formation

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