Three-dimensional simulation of massive star formation in the disk accretion scenario

Rolf Kuiper (1,2), Hubert Klahr (2), Henrik Beuther (2), Thomas Henning (2)

1) Argelander Institute for Astronomy, Bonn University, Auf dem Huegel 71, D-53121 Bonn, Germany
2) Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Koenigstuhl 17, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany

The most massive stars can form via standard disk accretion - despite of the radiation pressure generated - due to the fact that the massive accretion disk yields a strong anisotropy in the radiation field, releasing most of the radiation pressure perpendicular to the disk accretion flow. Here, we analyze the self-gravity of the forming circumstellar disk as the potential major driver of the angular momentum transport in such massive disks responsible for the high accretion rates needed for the formation of massive stars.
For this purpose, we perform self-gravity radiation hydrodynamics simulations of the collapse of massive pre-stellar cores. The formation and evolution of the resulting circumstellar disk is investigated in
1.) axially symmetric simulations using an alpha-shear-viscosity prescription and
2.) a three-dimensional simulation, in which the angular momentum transport is provided self-consistently by developing gravitational torques in the self-gravitating accretion disk.
The simulation series of different strength of the alpha-viscosity shows that the accretion history of the forming star is mostly independent of the alpha-viscosity-parameter. The accretion history of the three-dimensional run driven by self-gravity is more time-dependent than the viscous disk evolution in axial symmetry. The mean accretion rate, i.e. the stellar mass growth, is nearly identical to the alpha-viscosity models.
We conclude that the development of gravitational torques in self-gravitating disks around forming massive stars provides a self-consistent mechanism to efficiently transport the angular momentum to outer disk radii. Also the formation of the most massive stars can therefore be understood in the standard accretion disk scenario.

Reference: Accepted at ApJ
Status: Manuscript has been accepted