Massive star formation by accretion II. Rotation: how to circumvent the angular momentum barrier?

L. Haemmerlé (1,2), P. Eggenberger (1), G. Meynet (1), A. Maeder (1), C. Charbonnel (1,4), and R. S. Klessen (2,3)

(1) Observatoire de Genève, Université de Genève, chemin des Maillettes 51, CH-1290 Sauverny, Switzerland;
(2) Institut für Theoretische Astrophysik, Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg, Albert-Ueberle-Str. 2, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany;
(3) Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für wissenschaftliches Rechnen der Universität Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 205, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany;
(4) IRAP, UMR 5277 CNRS, 14 Av. É. Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France

Rotation plays a key role in the star-formation process, from pre-stellar cores to pre-main-sequence (PMS) objects. Understanding the formation of massive stars requires taking into account the accretion of angular momentum during their PMS phase. We study the PMS evolution of objects destined to become massive stars by accretion, focusing on the links between the physical conditions of the environment and the rotational properties of young stars. In particular, we look at the physical conditions that allow the production of massive stars by accretion. We present PMS models computed with a new version of the Geneva Stellar Evolution code self-consistently including accretion and rotation according to various accretion scenarios for mass and angular momentum. We describe the internal distribution of angular momentum in PMS stars accreting at high rates and we show how the various physical conditions impact their internal structures, evolutionary tracks, and rotation velocities during the PMS and the early main sequence. We find that the smooth angular momentum accretion considered in previous studies leads to an angular momentum barrier and does not allow the formation of massive stars by accretion. A braking mechanism is needed in order to circumvent this angular momentum barrier. This mechanism has to be efficient enough to remove more than 2/3 of the angular momentum from the inner accretion disc. Due to the weak efficiency of angular momentum transport by shear instability and meridional circulation during the accretion phase, the internal rotation profiles of accreting stars reflect essentially the angular momentum accretion history. As a consequence, careful choice of the angular momentum accretion history allows circumvention of any limitation in mass and velocity, and production of stars of any mass and velocity compatible with structure equations.

Reference: DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201630149
Status: Manuscript has been accepted