Face-on accretion onto a protoplanetary disc⋆
1 Department of Astrophysics/IMAPP, Radboud University Nijmegen, PO Box 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
3 Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Princetonplein 5, 3584 CC Utrecht, The Netherlands
Received: 3 December 2015
Accepted: 22 June 2016
Context. Stars are generally born in clustered stellar environments, which can affect their subsequent evolution. An example of this environmental influence can be found in globular clusters (GCs) harbouring multiple stellar populations. An evolutionary scenario in which a second (and possibly higher order) population is formed by the accretion of chemically enriched material onto the low-mass stars in the initial GC population has been suggested to explain the multiple stellar populations. The idea, dubbed early disc accretion, is that the low-mass, pre-main-sequence stars sweep up gas expelled by the more massive stars of the same generation into their protoplanetary disc as they move through the cluster core. The same process could also occur, to a lesser extent, in embedded stellar systems that are less dense.
Aims. Using assumptions that represent the (dynamical) conditions in a typical GC, we investigate whether a low-mass star of 0.4 M⊙ surrounded by a protoplanetary disc can accrete a sufficient amount of enriched material to account for the observed abundances in so-called second generation GC stars. In particular, we focus on the gas-loading rate onto the disc and star, as well as on the lifetime and stability of the disc.
Methods. We perform simulations at multiple resolutions with two different smoothed particle hydrodynamics codes and compare the results. Each code uses a different implementation of the artificial viscosity.
Results. We find that the gas-loading rate is about a factor of two smaller than the rate based on geometric arguments, because the effective cross-section of the disc is smaller than its surface area. Furthermore, the loading rate is consistent for both codes, irrespective of resolution. Although the disc gains mass in the high-resolution runs, it loses angular momentum on a timescale of 104 yr. Two effects determine the loss of (specific) angular momentum in our simulations: (1) continuous ram pressure stripping and (2) accretion of material with no azimuthal angular momentum. Our study, as well as previous work, suggests that the former, dominant process is mainly caused by numerical, rather than physical effects, while the latter is not. The latter process, as expected theoretically, causes the disc to become more compact and increases the surface density profile considerably at smaller radii.
Conclusions. The disc size is determined in the first place by the ram pressure exerted by the flow when it first hits the disc. Further evolution is governed by the decrease in the specific angular momentum of the disc as it accretes material with no azimuthal angular momentum. Even taking into account the uncertainties in our simulations and the result that the loading rate is within a factor two of a simple geometric estimate, the size and lifetime of the disc are probably not sufficient to accrete the amount of mass required in the early disc accretion scenario.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / protoplanetary disks / stars: formation / planets and satellites: formation / globular clusters: general
An animation of the simulation is available at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2016