AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 196 Star Formation Grab Bag II
Oral, Thursday, 10:00-11:30am, January 12, 2006, Wilson A/B

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[196.04] Massive protostellar disks: gravitational fragmentation?

KM Kratter, CD Matzner (Univ. Toronto)

If massive stars form by rapid accretion through disks, as recent observations show, then a critical question is: are these disks prone to fragment gravitationally into smaller objects? If so, then some portion of the low-mass population around massive stars is the product of disk fragmentation. Gravitational fragmentation could also starve accretion (as suggested for AGN by Tan and Blackman), potentially limiting stellar masses. We argue that disk stability is sensitive to the accretion rate and midplane temperature, according to the irradiation models of Matzner and Levin. Massive protostellar disks are intermediate between their low-mass cousins (in which fragmentation is suppressed) and AGN disks (in which it is all but inevitable). We compare our models against observed massive star disks.

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