The formation of low-mass binary star systems via turbulent fragmentation

Stella S.R. Offner, Kaitlin M. Kratter, Christopher D. Matzner, Mark R. Krumholz, Richard I. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations


We characterize the infall rate onto protostellar systems forming in self-gravitating radiation-hydrodynamics simulations. Using two dimensionless parameters to determine the disks' susceptibility to gravitational fragmentation, we infer limits on protostellar system multiplicity and the mechanism of binary formation. We show that these parameters give robust predictions even in the case of marginally resolved protostellar disks.We find that protostellar systems with radiation feedback predominately form binaries via turbulent fragmentation, not disk instability, and predict that turbulent fragmentation is the dominant channel for binary formation for low-mass stars. We clearly demonstrate that systems forming in simulations including radiative feedback have fundamentally different parameters than those in purely hydrodynamics simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1485-1494
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 20 2010


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Binaries: general
  • Radiative transfer
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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