Protostellar disk formation and transport of angular momentum during magnetized core collapse
Laboratoire de radioastronomie, LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, École Normale Supérieure, Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UMR 8112 CNRS), 24 rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
Received: 23 December 2011
Accepted: 17 March 2012
Context. Theoretical studies of collapsing clouds have found that even a relatively weak magnetic field may prevent the formation of disks and their fragmentation. However, most previous studies have been limited to cases where the magnetic field and the rotation axis of the cloud are aligned.
Aims. We study the transport of angular momentum, and its effects on disk formation, for non-aligned initial configurations and a range of magnetic intensities.
Methods. We perform three-dimensional, adaptive mesh, numerical simulations of magnetically supercritical collapsing dense cores using the magneto-hydrodynamic code Ramses. We compute the contributions of all the relevant processes transporting angular momentum, in both the envelope and the region of the disk. We clearly define centrifugally supported disks and thoroughly study their properties.
Results. At variance with earlier analyses, we show that the transport of angular momentum acts less efficiently in collapsing cores with non-aligned rotation and magnetic field. Analytically, this result can be understood by taking into account the bending of field lines occurring during the gravitational collapse. For the transport of angular momentum, we conclude that magnetic braking in the mean direction of the magnetic field tends to dominate over both the gravitational and outflow transport of angular momentum. We find that massive disks, containing at least 10% of the initial core mass, can form during the earliest stages of star formation even for mass-to-flux ratios as small as three to five times the critical value. At higher field intensities, the early formation of massive disks is prevented.
Conclusions. Given the ubiquity of Class I disks, and because the early formation of massive disks can take place at moderate magnetic intensities, we speculate that for stronger fields, disks will form later, when most of the envelope will have been accreted. In addition, we speculate that some observed early massive disks may actually be outflow cavities, mistaken for disks by projection effects.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / stars: formation / stars: low-mass
© ESO, 2012