STARFORGE: The effects of protostellar outflows on the IMF

Dávid Guszejnov*, Michael Y. Grudić, Philip F. Hopkins, Stella S.R. Offner, Claude André Faucher-Giguère

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The initial mass function (IMF) of stars is a key quantity affecting almost every field of astrophysics, yet it remains unclear what physical mechanisms determine it. We present the first runs of the STAR FORmation in Gaseous Environments project, using a new numerical framework to follow the formation of individual stars in giant molecular clouds (GMCs) using the gizmo code. Our suite includes runs with increasingly complex physics, starting with isothermal ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and then adding non-isothermal thermodynamics and protostellar outflows. We show that without protostellar outflows the resulting stellar masses are an order of magnitude too high, similar to the result in the base isothermal MHD run. Outflows disrupt the accretion flow around the protostar, allowing gas to fragment and additional stars to form, thereby lowering the mean stellar mass to a value similar to that observed. The effect of jets upon global cloud evolution is most pronounced for lower mass GMCs and dense clumps, so while jets can disrupt low-mass clouds, they are unable to regulate star formation in massive GMCs, as they would turn an order unity fraction of the mass into stars before unbinding the cloud. Jets are also unable to stop the runaway accretion of massive stars, which could ultimately lead to the formation of stars with masses >500, M⊙. Although we find that the mass scale set by jets is insensitive to most cloud parameters (i.e. surface density, virial parameter), it is strongly dependent on the momentum loading of the jets (which is poorly constrained by observations) as well as the temperature of the parent cloud, which predicts slightly larger IMF variations than observed. We conclude that protostellar jets play a vital role in setting the mass scale of stars, but additional physics are necessary to reproduce the observed IMF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3646-3663
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume502
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

Keywords

  • MHD
  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: jets
  • Stars: luminosity function
  • Turbulence
  • mass function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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