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Thickening of galactic disks through clustered star formation  [PDF]
Pavel Kroupa
Physics , 2001, DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2002.05128.x
Abstract: (Abridged) The building blocks of galaxies are star clusters. These form with low-star formation efficiencies and, consequently, loose a large part of their stars that expand outwards once the residual gas is expelled by the action of the massive stars. Massive star clusters may thus add kinematically hot components to galactic field populations. This kinematical imprint on the stellar distribution function is estimated here by calculating the velocity distribution function for ensembles of star-clusters distributed as power-law or log-normal initial cluster mass functions (ICMFs). The resulting stellar velocity distribution function is non-Gaussian and may be interpreted as being composed of multiple kinematical sub-populations. The notion that the formation of star-clusters may add hot kinematical components to a galaxy is applied to the age--velocity-dispersion relation of the Milky Way disk to study the implied history of clustered star formation, with an emphasis on the possible origin of the thick disk.
Control of star formation by supersonic turbulence  [PDF]
Mordecai-Mark Mac Low,Ralf S. Klessen
Physics , 2003, DOI: 10.1103/RevModPhys.76.125
Abstract: Understanding the formation of stars in galaxies is central to much of modern astrophysics. For several decades it has been thought that stellar birth is primarily controlled by the interplay between gravity and magnetostatic support, modulated by ambipolar diffusion. Recently, however, both observational and numerical work has begun to suggest that support by supersonic turbulence rather than magnetic fields controls star formation. In this review we outline a new theory of star formation relying on the control by turbulence. We demonstrate that although supersonic turbulence can provide global support, it nevertheless produces density enhancements that allow local collapse. Inefficient, isolated star formation is a hallmark of turbulent support, while efficient, clustered star formation occurs in its absence. The consequences of this theory are then explored for both local star formation and galactic scale star formation. (ABSTRACT ABBREVIATED)
Modes of clustered star formation  [PDF]
S. Pfalzner,T. Kaczmarek,C. Olczak
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201219881
Abstract: The realization that most stars form in clusters, raises the question of whether star/planet formation are influenced by the cluster environment. The stellar density in the most prevalent clusters is the key factor here. Whether dominant modes of clustered star formation exist is a fundamental question. Using near-neighbour searches in young clusters Bressert et al. (2010) claim this not to be the case and conclude that star formation is continuous from isolated to densely clustered. We investigate under which conditions near-neighbour searches can distinguish between different modes of clustered star formation. Near-neighbour searches are performed for model star clusters investigating the influence of the combination of different cluster modes, observational biases, and types of diagnostic and find that the cluster density profile, the relative sample sizes, limitations in observations and the choice of diagnostic method decides whether modelled modes of clustered star formation are detected. For centrally concentrated density distributions spanning a wide density range (King profiles) separate cluster modes are only detectable if the mean density of the individual clusters differs by at least a factor of ~65. Introducing a central cut-off can lead to underestimating the mean density by more than a factor of ten. The environmental effect on star and planet formation is underestimated for half of the population in dense systems. A analysis of a sample of cluster environments involves effects of superposition that suppress characteristic features and promotes erroneous conclusions. While multiple peaks in the distribution of the local surface density imply the existence of different modes, the reverse conclusion is not possible. Equally, a smooth distribution is not a proof of continuous star formation, because such a shape can easily hide modes of clustered star formation (abridged)
Clustered vs. Isolated Star Formation  [PDF]
Mordecai-Mark Mac Low
Physics , 2000,
Abstract: I argue that star formation is controlled by supersonic turbulence, drawing for support on a number of 3D hydrodynamical and MHD simulations as well as theoretical arguments. Clustered star formation appears to be a natural result of a lack of turbulent support, while isolated star formation is a signpost of global turbulent support.
Clustered star formation as a natural explanation of the Halpha cutoff in disc galaxies  [PDF]
Jan Pflamm-Altenburg,Pavel Kroupa
Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1038/nature07266
Abstract: Star formation is mainly determined by the observation of H$\alpha$ radiation which is related to the presence of short lived massive stars. Disc galaxies show a strong cutoff in H$\alpha$ radiation at a certain galactocentric distance which has led to the conclusion that star formation is suppressed in the outer regions of disc galaxies. This is seemingly in contradiction to recent UV observations (Boissier et al., 2007) that imply disc galaxies to have star formation beyond the Halpha cutoff and that the star-formation-surface density is linearly related to the underlying gas surface density being shallower than derived from Halpha luminosities (Kennicutt, 1998). In a galaxy-wide formulation the clustered nature of star formation has recently led to the insight that the total galactic Halpha luminosity is non-linearly related to the galaxy-wide star formation rate (Pflamm-Altenburg et al., 2007d). Here we show that a local formulation of the concept of clustered star formation naturally leads to a steeper radial decrease of the Halpha surface luminosity than the star-formation-rate surface density in quantitative agreement with the observations, and that the observed Halpha cutoff arises naturally.
Clustered Star Formation: A Review  [PDF]
Richard J. Parker
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-03041-8_86
Abstract: In this contribution I present a review of star formation in clusters. I begin by discussing the various definitions of what constitutes a star cluster, and then compare the outcome of star formation (IMF, multiplicity, mass segregation and structure and morphology) in different star-forming regions. I also review recent numerical models of star formation in clusters, before ending with a summary of the potential effects of dynamical evolution in star clusters.
Nuclear Star Clusters from Clustered Star Formation  [PDF]
Meghann Agarwal,Milos Milosavljevic
Physics , 2010, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/729/1/35
Abstract: Photometrically distinct nuclear star clusters (NSCs) are common in late-type-disk and spheroidal galaxies. The formation of NSCs is inevitable in the context of normal star formation in which a majority of stars form in clusters. A young, mass-losing cluster embedded in an isolated star-forming galaxy remains gravitationally bound over a period determined by its initial mass and the galactic tidal field. The cluster migrates radially toward the center of the galaxy and becomes integrated in the NSC if it reaches the center. The rate at which the NSC grows by accreting young clusters can be estimated from empirical cluster formation rates and dissolution times. We model cluster migration and dissolution and find that the NSCs in late-type disks and in spheroidals could have assembled from migrating clusters. The resulting stellar nucleus contains a small fraction of the stellar mass of the galaxy; this fraction is sensitive to the high-mass truncation of the initial cluster mass function (ICMF). The resulting NSC masses are consistent with the observed values, but generically, the final NSCs are surrounded by a spatially more extended excess over the inward-extrapolated exponential (or Sersic) law of the outer galaxy. We suggest that the excess can be related to the pseudobulge phenomenon in disks, though not all of the pseudobulge mass assembles this way. Comparison with observed NSC masses can be used to constrain the truncation mass scale of the ICMF and the fraction of clusters suffering prompt dissolution. We infer truncation mass scales of <~ 10^6 M_sun (>~ 10^5 M_sun) without (with 90%) prompt dissolution.
The efficiency of star formation in clustered and distributed regions  [PDF]
Ian A. Bonnell,Rowan J. Smith,Paul C. Clark,Matthew R. Bate
Physics , 2010, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17603.x
Abstract: We investigate the formation of both clustered and distributed populations of young stars in a single molecular cloud. We present a numerical simulation of a 10,000 solar mass elongated, turbulent, molecular cloud and the formation of over 2500 stars. The stars form both in stellar clusters and in a distributed mode which is determined by the local gravitational binding of the cloud. A density gradient along the major axis of the cloud produces bound regions that form stellar clusters and unbound regions that form a more distributed population. The initial mass function also depends on the local gravitational binding of the cloud with bound regions forming full IMFs whereas in the unbound, distributed regions the stellar masses cluster around the local Jeans mass and lack both the high-mass and the low-mass stars. The overall efficiency of star formation is ~ 15 % in the cloud when the calculation is terminated, but varies from less than 1 % in the the regions of distributed star formation to ~ 40 % in regions containing large stellar clusters. Considering that large scale surveys are likely to catch clouds at all evolutionary stages, estimates of the (time-averaged) star formation efficiency for the giant molecular cloud reported here is only ~ 4 %. This would lead to the erroneous conclusion of 'slow' star formation when in fact it is occurring on a dynamical timescale.
Present-Day Star Formation: Protostellar Outflows and Clustered Star Formation  [PDF]
Fumitaka Nakamura,Zhi-Yun Li
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1063/1.4754324
Abstract: Stars form predominantly in clusters inside dense clumps of turbulent, magnetized molecular clouds. The typical size and mass of the cluster-forming clumps are \sim 1 pc and \sim 10^2 - 10^3 M_\odot, respectively. Here, we discuss some recent progress on theoretical and observational studies of clustered star formation in such parsec-scale clumps with emphasis on the role of protostellar outflow feedback. Recent simulations indicate that protostellar outflow feedback can maintain supersonic turbulence in a cluster-forming clump, and the clump can keep a virial equilibrium long after the initial turbulence has decayed away. In the clumps, star formation proceeds relatively slowly; it continues for at least several global free-fall times of the parent dense clump (t_{ff}\sim a few x 10^5 yr). The most massive star in the clump is formed at the bottom of the clump gravitational potential well at later times through the filamentary mass accretion streams that are broken up by the outflows from low-mass cluster members. Observations of molecular outflows in nearby cluster-forming clumps appear to support the outflow-regulated cluster formation model.
Observations of Protostellar Outflow Feedback in Clustered Star Formation  [PDF]
Fumitaka Nakamura
Physics , 2015,
Abstract: We discuss the role of protostellar outflow feedback in clustered star formation using the observational data of recent molecular outflow surveys toward nearby cluster-forming clumps. We found that for almost all clumps, the outflow momentum injection rate is significantly larger than the turbulence dissipation rate. Therefore, the outflow feedback is likely to maintain supersonic turbulence in the clumps. For less massive clumps such as B59, L1551, and L1641N, the outflow kinetic energy is comparable to the clump gravitational energy. In such clumps, the outflow feedback probably affects significantly the clump dynamics. On the other hand, for clumps with masses larger than about 200 M$_\odot$, the outflow kinetic energy is significantly smaller than the clump gravitational energy. Since the majority of stars form in such clumps, we conclude that outflow feedback cannot destroy the whole parent clump. These characteristics of the outflow feedback support the scenario of slow star formation.
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