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Converging on the Initial Mass Function of Stars

Federrath, Christoph and Krumholz, Mark and Hopkins, Philip F. (2017) Converging on the Initial Mass Function of Stars. Journal of Physics Conference Series, 837 . Art. No. 012007. ISSN 1742-6588.

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Understanding the origin of stellar masses—the initial mass function (IMF)— remains one of the most challenging problems in astrophysics. The IMF is a key ingredient for simulations of galaxy formation and evolution, and is used to calibrate star formation relations in extra-galactic observations. Modeling the IMF directly in hydrodynamical simulations has been attempted in several previous studies, but the most important processes that control the IMF remain poorly understood. This is because predicting the IMF from direct hydrodynamical simulations involves complex physics such as turbulence, magnetic fields, radiation feedback and mechanical feedback, all of which are difficult to model and the methods used have limitations in terms of accuracy and computational efficiency. Moreover, a physical interpretation of the simulated IMFs requires a numerically converged solution at high resolution, which has so far not been convincingly demonstrated. Here we present a resolution study of star cluster formation aimed at producing a converged IMF. We compare a set of magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) adaptive-mesh-refinement simulations with three different implementations of the thermodynamics of the gas: 1) with an isothermal equation of state (EOS), 2) with a polytropic EOS, and 3) with a simple stellar heating feedback model. We show that in the simulations with an isothermal or polytropic EOS, the number of stars and their mass distributions depend on the numerical resolution. By contrast, the simulations that employ the simple radiative feedback module demonstrate convergence in the number of stars formed and in their IMFs.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Krumholz, Mark0000-0003-3893-854X
Hopkins, Philip F.0000-0003-3729-1684
Additional Information:© 2017 Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd. Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. We thank the anonymous referee for their useful comments on the manuscript. C.F. gratefully acknowledges funding provided by the Australian Research Council's Discovery Projects (grants DP150104329 and DP170100603). The simulations presented in this work used high performance computing resources provided by the Leibniz Rechenzentrum and the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (grants pr32lo, pr48pi and GCS Large-scale project 10391), the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE grant pr89mu), the Australian National Computational Infrastructure (grant ek9), and the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre with funding from the Australian Government and the Government of Western Australia, in the framework of the National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme and the ANU Allocation Scheme. The simulation software FLASH was in part developed by the DOE-supported Flash Center for Computational Science at the University of Chicago.
Group:TAPIR, Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian Research CouncilDP150104329
Australian Research CouncilDP170100603
Australian GovernmentUNSPECIFIED
Government of Western AustraliaUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170531-105304416
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Official Citation:Christoph Federrath et al 2017 J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 837 012007
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:77856
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:31 May 2017 18:05
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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