The Bridge
Research Project , 2018 –

Stars form clustered inside filamentary arms of ∼1 pc length embedded in giant molecular clouds (GMCs). On smaller scales of ∼1000 au, observations of IRAS 16293–2422, for example, show signs of a filamentary “bridge” connecting young protostars to their birth environment.

A key question is how do these bridge-like structures connect to the filamentary structures present on GMC scales and to the formation of multiple systems? Using the magnetohydrodynamical code RAMSES, to simulate the formation of low-mass stars from GMC scales to 2 au, we are analysing the morphology and dynamics involved in the formation process of a triple system.

Colliding flows of gas in the filamentary arms induce the formation of two protostellar companions at distances of ∼1000 au from the primary. After their birth, the stellar companions quickly approach, at ∆t ∼10 kyr, and orbit the primary on eccentric orbits with separations of ∼100 au. The colliding flows induce transient structures lasting for up to a few 10 kyr that connect two forming protostellar objects that are kinematically quiescent along the line-of-sight. Colliding flows compress gas and trigger the formation of stellar companions via turbulent fragmentation. Our results suggest that protostellar companions initially form with a wide separation of ∼1000 au. Smaller separations of a ~100 au are a consequence of subsequent migration and capturing. Associated with the formation phase of the companion, the turbulent environment induces the formation of arc- and bridge-like structures. These bridges can become kinematically quiescent when the velocity components of the colliding flows eliminate each other. However, the gas in bridges still contributes to stellar accretion later. Our results demonstrate that bridge-like structures are a transient phenomenon of stellar multiple formation.


Hannah Calcutt (contact)

Visiting Researcher at Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Astronomy and Plasmaphysics, Galactic Astrophysics



Funding Chalmers participation during 2018–

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