Daughter Fragmentation is Unlikely To Occur in Self-Gravitating Circumstellar Discs
Forgan et al
Circumstellar discs are thought to be self-gravitating at very early times. If the disc is relatively cool, extended and accreting sufficiently rapidly, it can fragment into bound objects of order a few Jupiter masses and upwards. Given that the fragment's initial angular momentum is non-zero, and it will continue to accrete angular momentum from the surrounding circumstellar disc, we should expect that the fragment will also possess a relatively massive disc at early times. Therefore, we can ask: is disc fragmentation a hierarchical process? Or, can a disc fragment go on to produce its own self-gravitating circumfragmentary disc that produces daughter fragments?
We investigate this using a set of nested 1D self-gravitating disc models. We calculate the radial structure of a marginally stable, self-gravitating circumstellar disc, and compute its propensity to fragmentation. We use this data to construct the local fragment properties at this radius. For each circumstellar disc model that results in fragmentation, we then compute a marginally stable self-gravitating circumfragmentary disc model.
In general, the circumfragmentary discs are geometrically thick and truncated inside the Hill radius, and are hence stable against daughter fragmentation. The typical steady-state accretion rate is between 0.1 and 10 percent of the local circumstellar disc accretion rate. The lifetime of the circumfragmentary discs' self-gravitating phase is somewhat less than 0.1 Myr, quite comparable with that of the circumstellar disc. We should therefore expect that disc fragments will not produce satellites via gravitational instability, but equally the self-gravitating phase of circumfragmentary discs is likely to affect the properties of satellites subsequently formed via core accretion.