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Gravitational Instabilities in Circumstellar Disks and the Formation of Binary Companions

  • Fred C. Adams (a1) and Willy Benz (a2)

Abstract

We review recent work on gravitational instabilities in circumstellar disks and discuss implications for the possibility of forming binary companions within these disks. Linear stability analysis indicates that self-gravitating modes with azimuthal wavenumber m = 1 will grow strongly in star/disk systems with the physical properties observed in astrophysical systems. Smooth particle hydrodynamic simulations indicate that these self-gravitating instabilities (with m = 1 and higher) will grow into the nonlinear regime. In many cases, a spiral arm will collapse into a gravitationally bound “knot” of gas; these knots typically contain 1% of the mass of the disk and travel on elliptical orbits about the central star.

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References

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Gravitational Instabilities in Circumstellar Disks and the Formation of Binary Companions

  • Fred C. Adams (a1) and Willy Benz (a2)

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