The statistical properties of stars and their dependence on metallicity: the effects of opacity (article)
Bate, Matthew R.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Oxford University Press for Royal Astronomical Society
Copyright © 2014 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
We report the statistical properties of stars and brown dwarfs obtained from four radiation hydrodynamical simulations of star cluster formation that resolve masses down to the opacity limit for fragmentation. The calculations are identical except for their dust and gas opacities. Assuming dust opacity is proportional to metallicity, the calculations span a range of metallicities from 1/100 to 3 times solar, although we emphasize that changing the metallicity has other thermodynamic effects that the calculations do not capture (e.g. on the thermal coupling between gas and dust). All four calculations produce stellar populations whose statistical properties are difficult to distinguish from observed stellar systems, and we find no significant dependence of stellar properties on opacity. The mass functions and properties of multiple stellar systems are consistent with each other. However, we find that protostellar mergers are more common with lower opacities. Combining the results from the three calculations with the highest opacities, we obtain a stellar population consisting of more than 500 stars and brown dwarfs. Many of the statistical properties of this population are in good agreement with those observed in our Galaxy, implying that gravity, hydrodynamics, and radiative feedback may be the primary ingredients for determining the statistical properties of low-mass stars. However, we do find indications that the calculations may be slightly too dissipative. Although further calculations will be required to understand all of the effects of metallicity on stellar properties, we conclude that stellar properties are surprisingly resilient to variations of the dust and gas opacities.
The author has deposited data related to this article in ORE on open access. See: http://hdl.handle.net/10871/14881
Vol. 442 (1), pp. 285 - 313