Simulations On A Moving Mesh: The Clustered Formation Of Population III Protostars

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Greif, Thomas H.
Springel, Volker
White, Simon D. M.
Glover, Simon C. O.
Clark, Paul C.
Smith, Rowan J.
Klessen, Ralf S.
Bromm, Volker

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The cosmic dark ages ended a few hundred million years after the big bang, when the first stars began to fill the universe with new light. It has generally been argued that these stars formed in isolation and were extremely massive-perhaps 100 times as massive as the Sun. In a recent study, Clark and collaborators showed that this picture requires revision. They demonstrated that the accretion disks that build up around Population III stars are strongly susceptible to fragmentation and that the first stars should therefore form in clusters rather than in isolation. We here use a series of high-resolution hydrodynamical simulations performed with the moving mesh code AREPO to follow up on this proposal and to study the influence of environmental parameters on the level of fragmentation. We model the collapse of five independent minihalos from cosmological initial conditions, through the runaway condensation of their central gas clouds, to the formation of the first protostar, and beyond for a further 1000 years. During this latter accretion phase, we represent the optically thick regions of protostars by sink particles. Gas accumulates rapidly in the circumstellar disk around the first protostar, fragmenting vigorously to produce a small group of protostars. After an initial burst, gravitational instability recurs periodically, forming additional protostars with masses ranging from similar to 0.1 to 10 M-circle dot. Although the shape, multiplicity, and normalization of the protostellar mass function depend on the details of the sink-particle algorithm, fragmentation into protostars with diverse masses occurs in all cases, confirming earlier reports of Population III stars forming in clusters. Depending on the efficiency of later accretion and merging, Population III stars may enter the main sequence in clusters and with much more diverse masses than are commonly assumed.



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Greif, Thomas H., Volker Springel, Simon DM White, Simon CO Glover, Paul C. Clark, Rowan J. Smith, Ralf S. Klessen, and Volker Bromm. "Simulations on a moving mesh: the clustered formation of population III protostars." The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 737, No. 2 (Aug., 2011): 75.