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Astro Seminar

The evolution of self-gravitating protostellar discs

Speaker: Ken Rice (Edinburgh)
Date: Wednesday 18 November 2020
Time: 14:00
Venue: Zoom

It seems likely that during the earliest stages of star formation, protostellar discs may be massive enough to be susceptible to a gravitational instability. This will manifest as spiral density waves, which can act to transport angular momentum outwards, potentially playing a key role in the early growth of the central protostar. Additionally, if these discs are very unstable, they may fragment to form bound objects. However, these will tend to be relatively massive objects on wide orbits. In this talk, I will present our current understanding of self-gravitating protostellar discs, the role they may play in star formation, the chances of observing this phase in a protostellar system, and the possibility that direct fragmentation may explain some of the directly imaged, wide-orbit, planetary-mass objects.