Magnetically controlled spasmodic accretion during star formation. II. Results

Konstantinos Tassis, Telemachos Ch Mouschovias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The problem of the late accretion phase of the evolution of an axisymmetric, isothermal magnetic disk surrounding a forming star has been formulated in a companion paper. The "central sink approximation" is used to circumvent the problem of describing the evolution inside the opaque central region for densities greater than 1011 cm-3 and radii smaller than a few AU. Only the electrons are assumed to be attached to the magnetic field lines, and the effects of both negatively and positively charged grains are accounted for. After a mass of 0.1 M⊙ accumulates in the central cell (forming star), a series of magnetically driven outflows and associated outward-propagating shocks form in a quasi-periodic fashion. As a result, mass accretion onto the protostar occurs in magnetically controlled bursts. We refer to this process as spasmodic accretion. The shocks propagate outward with supermagnetosonic speeds. The period of dissipation and revival of the outflow decreases in time, as the mass accumulated in the central sink increases. We evaluate the contribution of ambipolar diffusion to the resolution of the magnetic flux problem of star formation during the accretion phase, and we find it to be very significant albeit not sufficient to resolve the entire problem yet. Ohmic dissipation is completely negligible in the disk during this phase of the evolution. The protostellar disk is found to be stable against interchange-like instabilities, despite the fact that the mass-to-flux ratio has temporary local maxima.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-794
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Jan 10 2005


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Dust, extinction
  • MHD
  • Magnetic fields
  • Shock waver
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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