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Alignment of Protostars and Circumstellar Disks during the Embedded Phase

Spalding, Christopher and Batygin, Konstantin and Adams, Fred C. (2014) Alignment of Protostars and Circumstellar Disks during the Embedded Phase. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 797 (2). Art. No. L29. ISSN 2041-8205. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/797/2/L29.

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Star formation proceeds via the collapse of a molecular cloud core over multiple dynamical timescales. Turbulence within cores results in a spatially non-uniform angular momentum of the cloud, causing a stochastic variation in the orientation of the disk forming from the collapsing material. In the absence of star–disk angular momentum coupling, such disk-tilting would provide a natural mechanism for the production of primordial spin–orbit misalignments in the resulting planetary systems. However, owing to high accretion rates in the embedded phase of star formation, the inner edge of the circumstellar disk extends down to the stellar surface, resulting in efficient gravitational and accretional angular momentum transfer between the star and the disk. Here, we demonstrate that the resulting gravitational coupling is sufficient to suppress any significant star–disk misalignment, with accretion playing a secondary role. The joint tilting of the star–disk system leads to a stochastic wandering of star-aligned bipolar outflows. Such wandering widens the effective opening angle of stellar outflows, allowing for more efficient clearing of the remainder of the protostar's gaseous envelope. Accordingly, the processes described in this work provide an additional mechanism responsible for sculpting the stellar initial mass function.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Spalding, Christopher0000-0001-9052-3400
Batygin, Konstantin0000-0002-7094-7908
Adams, Fred C.0000-0002-8167-1767
Additional Information:© 2014 The American Astronomical Society. Received 29 October 2014, accepted for publication 19 November 2014; Published 9 December 2014. We thank Richard Nelson for useful discussions and the Michigan Institute for Research in Astrophysics for helping to facilitate this collaboration.
Subject Keywords:protoplanetary disks; stars: formation
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150205-103518121
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Alignment of Protostars and Circumstellar Disks during the Embedded Phase Christopher Spalding et al. 2014 ApJ 797 L29
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:54418
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:05 Feb 2015 20:37
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 20:33

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