Sunday, January 17, 2016

How do Monster-sized 100+ Solar Mass Stars Form?

Supermassive star formation via episodic accretion: protostellar disc instability and radiative feedback efficiency


Sakurai et al


The formation of SMSs is a potential pathway to seed SMBHs in the early universe. A critical issue for forming SMSs is stellar UV feedback, which may limit the stellar mass growth via accretion. In this paper we study the evolution of an accreting SMS and its UV emissivity under conditions of realistic variable accretion from a self-gravitating circumstellar disc. First we conduct a 2D hydrodynamical simulation to follow the long-term protostellar accretion until the stellar mass exceeds 104 M⊙. The disc fragments due to gravitational instability, creating a number of small clumps that rapidly migrate inward to fall onto the star. The resulting accretion history is thus highly time-dependent: short episodic accretion bursts are followed by longer, relative quiescent phases. We show that the circumstellar disc for the so-called direct collapse model is more unstable and generates greater variability over shorter timescales than normal Pop III cases. We conduct a post-process stellar evolution calculation using the obtained accretion history. Our results show that, regardless of the strong variability of the accretion rates, the stellar radius monotonically increases with almost constant effective temperature at Teff≃5000 K as the stellar mass increases. The resulting UV feedback is too weak to hinder mass accretion due to the low flux of stellar UV photons, thus verifying our implicit assumption of no stellar feedback during the hydrodynamic simulations. The insensitivity of stellar evolution to variable accretion is attributed to the fact that typical timescales of variability, ≲103 years, are too short to affect the stellar structure. We argue that this evolution will continue until the SMS eventually collapses to produce a massive black hole by the general relativistic instability after the stellar mass reaches ≳105 M⊙.

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