skip to main content


Title: Implementing primordial binaries in simulations of star cluster formation with a hybrid MHD and direct N -body method
ABSTRACT The fraction of stars in binary systems within star clusters is important for their evolution, but what proportion of binaries form by dynamical processes after initial stellar accretion remains unknown. In previous work, we showed that dynamical interactions alone produced too few low-mass binaries compared to observations. We therefore implement an initial population of binaries in the coupled magnetohydrodynamics and direct N-body star cluster formation code torch. We compare simulations with, and without, initial binary populations and follow the dynamical evolution of the binary population in both sets of simulations, finding that both dynamical formation and destruction of binaries take place. Even in the first few million years of star formation, we find that an initial population of binaries is needed at all masses to reproduce observed binary fractions for binaries with mass ratios above the q ≥ 0.1 detection limit. Our simulations also indicate that dynamical interactions in the presence of gas during cluster formation modify the initial distributions towards binaries with smaller primary masses, larger mass ratios, smaller semimajor axes and larger eccentricities. Systems formed dynamically do not have the same properties as the initial systems, and systems formed dynamically in the presence of an initial population of binaries differ from those formed in simulations with single stars only. Dynamical interactions during the earliest stages of star cluster formation are important for determining the properties of binary star systems.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1815461 1814772
NSF-PAR ID:
10287896
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume:
501
Issue:
3
ISSN:
0035-8711
Page Range / eLocation ID:
4464 to 4478
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The recent discovery of two detached black hole–star (BH–star) binaries from Gaia’s third data release has sparked interest in understanding the formation mechanisms of these systems. We investigate the formation of these systems by dynamical processes in young star clusters (SCs) and via isolated binary (IB) evolution, using a combination of directN-body and population synthesis simulations. We find that dynamical formation in SCs is nearly 50 times more efficient per unit of star formation at producing BH–star binaries than IB evolution. We expand this analysis to the full Milky Way (MW) using a FIRE-2 hydrodynamical simulation of an MW-mass galaxy. Even assuming that only 10% of star formation goes into SCs, we find that approximately four out of every five BH–star systems are formed dynamically, and that the MW contains a total of ∼2 × 105BH–star systems. Many of these dynamically formed systems have longer orbital periods, greater eccentricities, and greater black hole masses than their isolated counterparts. For binaries older than 100 Myr, we show that any detectable system withe≳ 0.5 orMBH≳ 10Mcanonlybe formed through dynamical processes. Our MW model predicts between 64 and 215 such detections from the complete DR4 Gaia catalog, with the majority of systems being dynamically formed in massive and metal-rich SCs. Finally, we compare our populations to the recently discovered Gaia BH1 and Gaia BH2, and conclude that the dynamical scenario is the most favorable formation pathway for both systems.

     
    more » « less
  2. ABSTRACT

    Strong dynamical interactions among stars and compact objects are expected in a variety of astrophysical settings, such as star clusters and the disks of active galactic nuclei. Via a suite of three-dimensional hydrodynamics simulations using the moving-mesh code arepo, we investigate the formation of transient phenomena and their properties in close encounters between an $2\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ or $20\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ equal-mass circular binary star and single $20\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ black hole (BH). Stars can be disrupted by the BH during dynamical interactions, naturally producing electromagnetic transient phenomena. Encounters with impact parameters smaller than the semimajor axis of the initial binary frequently lead to a variety of transients whose electromagnetic signatures are qualitatively different from those of ordinary disruption events involving just two bodies. These include the simultaneous or successive disruptions of both stars and one full disruption of one star accompanied by successive partial disruptions of the other star. On the contrary, when the impact parameter is larger than the semimajor axis of the initial binary, the binary is either simply tidally perturbed or dissociated into bound and unbound single stars (‘micro-Hills’ mechanism). The dissociation of $20\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ binaries can produce a runaway star and an active BH moving away from one another. Also, the binary dissociation can either produce an interacting binary with the BH, or a non-interacting, hard binary; both could be candidates of BH high- and low-mass X-ray binaries. Hence, our simulations especially confirm that strong encounters can lead to the formation of the (generally difficult to form) BH low-mass X-ray binaries.

     
    more » « less
  3. ABSTRACT

    We perform simulations of star cluster formation to investigate the morphological evolution of embedded star clusters in the earliest stages of their evolution. We conduct our simulations with Torch, which uses the Amuse framework to couple state-of-the-art stellar dynamics to star formation, radiation, stellar winds, and hydrodynamics in Flash. We simulate a suite of 104 M⊙ clouds at 0.0683 pc resolution for ∼2 Myr after the onset of star formation, with virial parameters α = 0.8, 2.0, 4.0 and different random samplings of the stellar initial mass function and prescriptions for primordial binaries. Our simulations result in a population of embedded clusters with realistic morphologies (sizes, densities, and ellipticities) that reproduce the known trend of clouds with higher initial α having lower star formation efficiencies. Our key results are as follows: (1) Cluster mass growth is not monotonic, and clusters can lose up to half of their mass while they are embedded. (2) Cluster morphology is not correlated with cluster mass and changes over ∼0.01 Myr time-scales. (3) The morphology of an embedded cluster is not indicative of its long-term evolution but only of its recent history: radius and ellipticity increase sharply when a cluster accretes stars. (4) The dynamical evolution of very young embedded clusters with masses ≲1000 M⊙ is dominated by the overall gravitational potential of the star-forming region rather than by internal dynamical processes such as two- or few-body relaxation.

     
    more » « less
  4. ABSTRACT

    Stars form in dense, clustered environments, where feedback from newly formed stars eventually ejects the gas, terminating star formation and leaving behind one or more star clusters. Using the STARFORGE simulations, it is possible to simulate this process in its entirety within a molecular cloud, while explicitly evolving the gas radiation and magnetic fields and following the formation of individual, low-mass stars. We find that individual star-formation sites merge to form ever larger structures, while still accreting gas. Thus clusters are assembled through a series of mergers. During the cluster assembly process, a small fraction of stars are ejected from their clusters; we find no significant difference between the mass distribution of the ejected stellar population and that of stars inside clusters. The star-formation sites that are the building blocks of clusters start out mass segregated with one or a few massive stars at their centre. As they merge the newly formed clusters maintain this feature, causing them to have mass-segregated substructures without themselves being centrally condensed. The merged clusters relax to a centrally condensed mass-segregated configuration through dynamical interactions between their members, but this process does not finish before feedback expels the remaining gas from the cluster. In the simulated runs, the gas-free clusters then become unbound and breakup. We find that turbulent driving and a periodic cloud geometry can significantly reduce clustering and prevent gas expulsion. Meanwhile, the initial surface density and level of turbulence have little qualitative effect on cluster evolution, despite the significantly different star formation histories.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Very massive stars (VMSs) formed via a sequence of stellar collisions in dense star clusters have been proposed as the progenitors of massive black hole seeds. VMSs could indeed collapse to form intermediate-mass black holes, which would then grow by accretion to become the supermassive black holes observed at the centers of galaxies and powering high-redshift quasars. Previous studies have investigated how different cluster initial conditions affect the formation of a VMS, including mass segregation, stellar collisions, and binaries, among others. In this study, we investigate the growth of VMSs with a new grid of Cluster Monte Carlo star cluster simulations—the most expansive to date. The simulations span a wide range of initial conditions, varying the number of stars, cluster density, stellar initial mass function (IMF), and primordial binary fraction. We find a gradual shift in the mass of the most massive collision product across the parameter space; in particular, denser clusters born with top-heavy IMFs provide strong collisional regimes that form VMSs with masses easily exceeding 1000M. Our results are used to derive a fitting formula that can predict the typical mass of a VMS formed as a function of the star cluster properties. Additionally, we study the stochasticity of this process and derive a statistical distribution for the mass of the VMS formed in one of our models, recomputing the model 50 times with different initial random seeds.

     
    more » « less