Do siblings always form and evolve simultaneously? Testing the coevality of multiple protostellar systems through SEDs
1 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
2 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstraße 1, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
3 INAF–Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, L.go E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
Received: 3 February 2016
Accepted: 11 April 2016
Context. Multiplicity is common in field stars and among protostellar systems. Models suggest two paths of formation: turbulent fragmentation and protostellar disk fragmentation.
Aims. We attempt to find whether or not the coevality frequency of multiple protostellar systems can help to better understand their formation mechanism. The coevality frequency is determined by constraining the relative evolutionary stages of the components in a multiple system.
Methods. Spectral energy distributions (SEDs) for known multiple protostars in Perseus were constructed from literature data. Herschel PACS photometric maps were used to sample the peak of the SED for systems with separations ≥7″, a crucial aspect in determining the evolutionary stage of a protostellar system. Inclination effects and the surrounding envelope and outflows were considered to decouple source geometry from evolution. This together with the shape and derived properties from the SED was used to determine each system’s coevality as accurately as possible. SED models were used to examine the frequency of non-coevality that is due to geometry.
Results. We find a non-coevality frequency of 33 ± 10% from the comparison of SED shapes of resolved multiple systems. Other source parameters suggest a somewhat lower frequency of non-coevality. The frequency of apparent non-coevality that is due to random inclination angle pairings of model SEDs is 17 ± 0.5%. Observations of the outflow of resolved multiple systems do not suggest significant misalignments within multiple systems. Effects of unresolved multiples on the SED shape are also investigated.
Conclusions. We find that one-third of the multiple protostellar systems sampled here are non-coeval, which is more than expected from random geometric orientations. The other two-thirds are found to be coeval. Higher order multiples show a tendency to be non-coeval. The frequency of non-coevality found here is most likely due to formation and enhanced by dynamical evolution.
Key words: stars: formation / stars: protostars / stars: low-mass / methods: statistical / catalogs / techniques: photometric
© ESO, 2016