EDP Sciences
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Volume 375, Number 2, August IV 2001
Page(s) 455 - 468
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20010868

A&A 375, 455-468 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20010868

The spectral energy distribution of self-gravitating protostellar disks

G. Lodato1 and G. Bertin1, 2

1  Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza dei Cavalieri 7, 56126 Pisa, Italy
2  Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Fisica, Via Celoria 16, 20133 Milano, Italy

(Received 12 February 2001 / Accepted 12 June 2001)

The long wavelength emission of protostellar objects is commonly attributed to a disk of gas and dust around the central protostar. In the first stages of disk accretion or in the case of high mass protostars, the disk mass is likely to be sufficiently large, so that the disk self-gravity may have an impact on the dynamics and the emission properties of the disk. In this paper we describe the spectral energy distribution (SED) produced by a simple, non-flaring, self-gravitating accretion disk model. Self-gravity is included in the calculation of the rotation curve of the disk and in the energy balance equation, as a term of effective heating related to Jeans instability. In order to quantify in detail the requirements on the mass of the disk and on the accretion rate posed on the models by realistic situations, we compare the SEDs produced by these models with the observed SEDs of a small sample of well-studied protostellar objects. We find that relatively modest disks -even lighter than the central star -can lead to an interesting fit to the infrared SED of the FU Orionis objects considered, while in the case of T Tauri stars the required parameters fall outside the range suggested as acceptable by the general theoretical and observational scenario. On the basis of the present results, we may conclude that the contribution of a self-gravitating disk is plausible in several cases (in particular, for FU Orionis objects) and that, in the standard irradiation, dominated disk scenario, it would help soften the requirements encountered by Keplerian accretion models.

Key words: accretion, accretion disks -- gravitation -- stars: pre-main sequence

Offprint request: G. Lodato, lodato@cibs.sns.it

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