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Title: THE PROTOSTELLAR LUMINOSITY FUNCTION

Abstract

The protostellar luminosity function (PLF) is the present-day luminosity function of the protostars in a region of star formation. It is determined using the protostellar mass function in combination with a stellar evolutionary model that provides the luminosity as a function of instantaneous and final stellar mass. In 2010, McKee and Offner considered three main accretion models: the isothermal sphere (IS) model, the turbulent core (TC) model, and an approximation of the competitive accretion (CA) model. We also consider the effect of an accretion rate that tapers off linearly in time and an accelerating star formation rate. For each model, we characterize the luminosity distribution using the mean, median, maximum, ratio of the median to the mean, standard deviation of the logarithm of the luminosity, and the fraction of very low luminosity objects. We compare the models with bolometric luminosities observed in local star-forming regions and find that models with an approximately constant accretion time, such as the TC and CA models, appear to agree better with observation than those with a constant accretion rate, such as the IS model. We show that observations of the mean protostellar luminosity in these nearby regions of low-mass star formation suggest a meanmore » star formation time of 0.3 {+-} 0.1 Myr. Such a timescale, together with some accretion that occurs non-radiatively and some that occurs in high-accretion, episodic bursts, resolves the classical 'luminosity problem' in low-mass star formation, in which observed protostellar luminosities are significantly less than predicted. An accelerating star formation rate is one possible way of reconciling the observed star formation time and mean luminosity. Future observations will place tighter constraints on the observed luminosities, star formation time, and episodic accretion, enabling better discrimination between star formation models and clarifying the influence of variable accretion on the PLF.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  2. Physics Department and Astronomy Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21578296
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Astrophysical Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 736; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/736/1/53; Journal ID: ISSN 0004-637X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; DISTRIBUTION; FUNCTIONS; LUMINOSITY; PROTOSTARS; STAR EVOLUTION; EVOLUTION; OPTICAL PROPERTIES; PHYSICAL PROPERTIES

Citation Formats

Offner, Stella S. R., and McKee, Christopher F., E-mail: soffner@cfa.harvard.edu, E-mail: cmckee@astro.berkeley.edu. THE PROTOSTELLAR LUMINOSITY FUNCTION. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/736/1/53.
Offner, Stella S. R., & McKee, Christopher F., E-mail: soffner@cfa.harvard.edu, E-mail: cmckee@astro.berkeley.edu. THE PROTOSTELLAR LUMINOSITY FUNCTION. United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/736/1/53.
Offner, Stella S. R., and McKee, Christopher F., E-mail: soffner@cfa.harvard.edu, E-mail: cmckee@astro.berkeley.edu. Wed . "THE PROTOSTELLAR LUMINOSITY FUNCTION". United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/736/1/53.
@article{osti_21578296,
title = {THE PROTOSTELLAR LUMINOSITY FUNCTION},
author = {Offner, Stella S. R. and McKee, Christopher F., E-mail: soffner@cfa.harvard.edu, E-mail: cmckee@astro.berkeley.edu},
abstractNote = {The protostellar luminosity function (PLF) is the present-day luminosity function of the protostars in a region of star formation. It is determined using the protostellar mass function in combination with a stellar evolutionary model that provides the luminosity as a function of instantaneous and final stellar mass. In 2010, McKee and Offner considered three main accretion models: the isothermal sphere (IS) model, the turbulent core (TC) model, and an approximation of the competitive accretion (CA) model. We also consider the effect of an accretion rate that tapers off linearly in time and an accelerating star formation rate. For each model, we characterize the luminosity distribution using the mean, median, maximum, ratio of the median to the mean, standard deviation of the logarithm of the luminosity, and the fraction of very low luminosity objects. We compare the models with bolometric luminosities observed in local star-forming regions and find that models with an approximately constant accretion time, such as the TC and CA models, appear to agree better with observation than those with a constant accretion rate, such as the IS model. We show that observations of the mean protostellar luminosity in these nearby regions of low-mass star formation suggest a mean star formation time of 0.3 {+-} 0.1 Myr. Such a timescale, together with some accretion that occurs non-radiatively and some that occurs in high-accretion, episodic bursts, resolves the classical 'luminosity problem' in low-mass star formation, in which observed protostellar luminosities are significantly less than predicted. An accelerating star formation rate is one possible way of reconciling the observed star formation time and mean luminosity. Future observations will place tighter constraints on the observed luminosities, star formation time, and episodic accretion, enabling better discrimination between star formation models and clarifying the influence of variable accretion on the PLF.},
doi = {10.1088/0004-637X/736/1/53},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
issn = {0004-637X},
number = 1,
volume = 736,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {7}
}