Observational implications of precessing protostellar discs and jets

MR Bate, Ian Alexander Bonnell, CJ Clarke, SH Lubow, GI Ogilvie, JE Pringle, CA Tout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We consider the dynamics of a protostellar disc in a binary system where the disc is misaligned with the orbital plane of the binary, with the aim of determining the observational consequences for such systems. The disc wobbles with a period approximately equal to half the orbital period of the binary and precesses on a longer time-scale. We determine the characteristic time-scale for realignment of the disc with the orbital plane as a result of dissipation. If the dissipation is determined by a simple isotropic viscosity then we find, in line with previous studies, that the alignment time-scale is of the order of the viscous evolution time-scale. However, for typical protostellar disc parameters, if the disc tilt exceeds the opening angle of the disc, then tidally induced shearing within the disc is transonic. In general, hydrodynamic instabilities associated with the internally driven shear result in extra dissipation that is expected to drastically reduce the alignment time-scale. For large disc tilts the alignment time-scale is then comparable with the precession time-scale, while for smaller tilt angles delta, the alignment time-scale varies as (sin delta)(-1). We discuss the consequences of the wobbling, precession and rapid realignment for observations of protostellar jets and the implications for binary star formation mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)pp.773-781.
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume317
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2000

Keywords

  • accretion, accretion discs
  • binaries : general
  • stars : formation
  • stars : pre-main-sequence
  • ISM : jets and outflows
  • ELONGATED CYLINDRICAL CLOUDS
  • YOUNG STELLAR OBJECTS
  • BINARY STAR FORMATION
  • ACCRETION DISKS
  • MOLECULAR OUTFLOWS
  • T-TAURI
  • FRAGMENTATION
  • SYSTEMS
  • DYNAMICS
  • RINGS

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