The formation of a star is a dynamic process fed by the gravitational collapse of a molecular cloud core. Theoretical models and observations suggest that the majority of this infalling material settles into a protoplanetary disk before reaching the (proto)star and therefore that disk accretion processes are responsible for the rate at which the (proto)star grows. There is no fundamental reason why infall and disk accretion need to be instantaneously identical. Indeed, even within the disk it might be anticipated that there are regions of strong and weak accretion. Together these facts suggest that (proto)stellar mass assembly should be both secular and stochastic and that the underlying physical processes leading to these time-variable accretion rates should manifest in observable time-dependent accretion luminosity variations.
Fri, 8 Dec 17
Comments: Proceedings of the Star Formation in Different Environments, ICISE, Quy Nhon, Vietnam, 2016, (eds. D. Johnstone, T. Hoang, F. Nakamura, Q. Nguyen-Luong, and J. T. Tranh Van)