AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 66. Star Formation II
Oral, Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 2:00-3:30pm, 608-609

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[66.04D] Radiative Feedback and the Formation of Massive Stars

R.G. Edgar (IoA, Cambridge)

Massive stars are of great astrophysical importance, yet their formation process is not well understood. This is due to the greater number of physical processes which may be present and shorter formation timescale, as compared to the formation of low mass stars.

The hydrodynamic effect of radiation pressure on dust grains is important in the process of massive star formation, since it has the potential to limit stellar masses. Previous work by Wolfire and Cassinelli (1987) has shown that frequency dependent radiative transfer is required to study the details of the accretion flow. A new algorithm is presented, which captures the major features of the full treatment, while remaining sufficiently fast to be useful in hydrodynamic simulations.

Applying this new algorithm to the formation of massive stars in spherical geometry (where the effect of radiative feedback is greatest), it is shown that: 1) Massive star formation is favoured by cold, homogeneous conditions. Under such conditions, radiative feedback seems to provide only a very weak limit on stellar masses. 2) Depletion of the dust mixture from Galactic norms is not required to permit the formation of massive stars, in contrast to the findings of other authors.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: rge21@ast.cam.ac.uk

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