Formation scenario for wide and close binary systems

Masahiro N. Machida, Kohji Tomisaka, Tomoaki Matsumoto, Shu Ichiro Inutsuka

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117 Citations (Scopus)


Fragmentation and binary formation processes are studied using three-dimensional resistive MHD nested grid simulations. Starting with a Bonnor-Ebert isothermal cloud rotating in a uniform magnetic field, we calculate the cloud evolution from the molecular cloud core (n = 104 cm 3) to the stellar core (n ∼ 1022 cm-3), where n denotes the central density. We calculated 147 models with different initial magnetic, rotational, and thermal energies and the amplitudes of the nonaxisymmetric perturbation. In a collapsing cloud, fragmentation is mainly controlled by the initial ratio of the rotational to the magnetic energy, regardless of the initial thermal energy and amplitude of the nonaxisymmetric perturbation. The cloud rotation promotes fragmentation, while the magnetic field delays or in some cases suppresses fragmentation through all phases of cloud evolution. The results are categorized into three types. When the clouds have larger rotational energies in relation to magnetic energies, fragmentation occurs in the low-density phase (10l2 cm-3 ≲ n ≲15 cm-3) with separations of 3-300 AU. Fragments that appeared in this phase are expected to evolve into wide binary systems. On the other hand, when initial clouds have larger magnetic energies in relation to the rotational energies, fragmentation occurs only in the high-density phase (n ≳1017 cm-3) after the clouds experience a significant reduction of the magnetic field owing to the ohmic dissipation. Fragments appearing in this phase have mutual separations of ≲ 0.3 AU and are expected to evolve into close binary systems. No fragmentation occurs in the case of sufficiently strong magnetic field, in which single stars are expected to be born. Two types of fragmentation epoch reflect wide and close separations. We might be able to observe a bimodal distribution for the radial separation of the protostar in extremely young stellar groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-347
Number of pages21
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 10 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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