Protostars and Planets VI, Heidelberg, July 15-20, 2013

Poster 1B084

Protobinary Evolution Driven By Magnetic Braking

Zhao, Bo (University of Virginia)
Li, Zhi-Yun (University of Virginia)

The majority of stars are in multiple systems, especially binaries. Such objects form in dense cores of molecular clouds that are observed to be strongly magnetized. Most previous studies of binary formation have either ignored magnetic fields or focused on the initial core fragmentation into binary seeds. Here I focus on the effects of the magnetic field on the orbital evolution of the protobinary during the main accretion phase, after a pair of stellar seeds have formed. By simulating a \'seed\' binary system with the sink particle treatment, we show that magnetic field plays a crucial role in removing the gas angular momentum and shrinking the binary separation. Through magnetic braking, strong magnetic field is very effective in suppressing the formation of circumstellar disks and circumbinary disk along with its spiral arm structures. The magnetic field can also be responsible for the population of the low mass-ratio binaries in the observed distribution. The magnetically-braked material will have equal chance of being accreted onto either binary seed, instead of the preferential accretion onto the secondary when magnetic field is absent. Furthermore, large field mis-alignment helps to produce rotationally-supported circumbinary disks even for relatively strong magnetic fields, by weakening the magnetically-dominated structure close to the binary. Hence to explain the observed properties of binaries, the magnetic effects deserve more careful considerations in the larger context of binary formation in future studies.

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