Self-gravitating disc candidates around massive young stars

D. H. Forgan, J. D. Ilee, C. J. Cyganowski, C. L. Brogan, T. R. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


There have been several recent detections of candidate Keplerian discs around massive young protostars. Given the relatively large disc-to-star mass ratios in these systems, and their young ages, it is worth investigating their propensity to becoming self-gravitating. To this end, we compute self-consistent, semi-analytic models of putative self-gravitating discs for five candidate disc systems. Our aim is not to fit exactly the observations, but to demonstrate that the expected dust continuum emission from marginally unstable self-gravitating discs can be quite weak, due to high optical depth at the mid-plane even at millimetre wavelengths. In the best cases, the models produce ‘observable’ disc masses within a factor of <1.5 of those observed, with mid-plane dust temperatures comparable to measured temperatures from molecular line emission. We find in two cases that a self-gravitating disc model compares well with observations. If these discs are self-gravitating, they satisfy the conditions for disc fragmentation in their outer regions. These systems may hence have as-yet-unresolved low-mass stellar companions, and are thus promising targets for future high angular resolution observations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-964
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date9 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2016


  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: massive
  • Stars: pre-main sequence
  • Stars: protostars
  • Radio continuum: stars
  • Submillimetre: stars


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