Astron. J., 120, 3177-3191 (2000/December-0)
Disintegrating multiple systems in early stellar evolution.
Abstract (from CDS):
An analysis of the multiplicity of 14 sources driving giant Herbig-Haro flows has revealed an observed binary frequency between 79% and 86%, of which half are higher order multiples. These sources represent the hitherto youngest sample of stars examined for binarity. I postulate that the dynamical decay of triple or multiple systems leads to strong outflow activity. It is well known that a large fraction of nonhierarchical triple systems rapidly break up and eject the lightest member. At the same time a closer binary in a highly eccentric orbit is formed. Massive disk truncation results, accompanied by large-scale accretion, with a consequent burst of outflow activity, which produces the observed giant HH bow shocks. Some of the material culled from the individual circumstellar disks may settle into a circumbinary disk around the newly bound stellar pair. The small remaining and truncated circumstellar disks are fed from the circumbinary disk through gas streams, and this as well as other dynamical effects cause the binary orbit to shrink. Gas streams together with disk interactions at periastron drive cyclic accretion modulated on an orbital timescale. As the stellar components gradually spiral toward each other, the increasingly frequent mass-loss events form chains of HH objects until eventually the binary has a semimajor axis of only 9-12 AU, at which point the closely spaced shocked ejecta appear as a finely collimated jet. Thus, such HH flows can be read as a fossil record of the evolution of orbital motions of a binary, newly formed in a triple disintegration event, as it shrinks from a typical separation of 100 AU or more to 10 AU or less. When the triple system disintegrates and a single star is ejected, the newly formed binary recoils, and as a result both components (star and close binary) leave their nascent envelope. While one component becomes visible as a T Tauri star, the other will be obscured for a while by the envelope and will appear as a bright near-infrared object. For typical parameters, this geometry persists for only 5000 yr or so. If the ejected star does not escape, cyclic motion of a hierarchical triple begins. This explains the so-called IRC binaries that are infrequently found in star-forming regions. The standard model of early stellar evolution states that young stars gradually and smoothly make the transitions from Class 0 through Class I and II objects to eventually become Class III objects. In contrast, stars born in multiple systems can abruptly transit from a Class 0 or I object to a visible T Tauri star. The main accretion phase may be terminated by the stochastic process of triple decay. Depending on the moment of triple disintegration, the ejected objects can range from stellar embryos, which will emerge as very low mass stars or even brown dwarfs, to essentially fully built-up stars. In this picture, the initial mass function toward its low-mass end has an important stochastic component that can only be described by the half-life of the decay processes. Because the ejected stars can take only limited circumstellar material with them, they will soon lose their classical T Tauri characteristics and join the halo of weak-line T Tauri stars that surround star-forming clouds. Differences in ejection may explain why two apparently similar T Tauri stars of about the same age can have major differences in the size of their circumstellar disks.
Stars: Binaries: General - Stars: Circumstellar Matter - ISM: Jets and Outflows - Stars: Formation - Stars: Mass Loss
Table 1 and appendix : IRAS 04329+2436 misprint for IRAS 04239+2436
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