Back to Volume
Paper: Competitive Accretion and the Formation of Massive Stars
Volume: 390, Pathways Through an Eclectic Universe
Page: 26
Authors: Bonnell, I.A.
Abstract: Competitive accretion in a stellar cluster is a probable mechanism to explain the formation of high mass stars and their properties in the context of low mass star formation. The fragmentation of a turbulent cloud produces the individual stars with masses of the order the Jeans mass or mean stellar mass in the cluster. Once individual stars fall together to form a small-N cluster, their mutual potential funnels gas down to the center. The higher gas densities in the cluster centers, and the fact that this gas is continually replenished, result in much higher accretion rates for the few stars located there. These stars become massive stars primarily due to their location in the center of a cluster. This process requires a distributed gas reservoir with initially low velocity dispersion as expected in a turbulent medium. Competitive accretion can explain the distribution of stellar masses, the mass segregation of young stellar clusters, and the high binary frequency and properties of massive stars. Finally, competitive accretion predicts a direct relationship between the total stellar mass of a cluster and the most massive star therein.
Back to Volume