Charles E. Hansen

University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States

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Publications (3)20.2 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The properties of unresolved protostars and their local environment are frequently inferred from spectral energy distributions (SEDs) using radiative transfer modeling. We perform synthetic observations of realistic star formation simulations to evaluate the accuracy of properties inferred from fitting model SEDs to observations. We use ORION, an adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) three-dimensional gravito-radiation-hydrodynamics code, to simulate low-mass star formation in a turbulent molecular cloud including the effects of protostellar outflows. To obtain the dust temperature distribution and SEDs of the forming protostars, we post-process the simulations using HYPERION, a state-of-the-art Monte-Carlo radiative transfer code. We find that the ORION and HYPERION dust temperatures typically agree within a factor of two. We compare synthetic SEDs of embedded protostars for a range of evolutionary times, simulation resolutions, aperture sizes, and viewing angles. We demonstrate that complex, asymmetric gas morphology leads to a variety of classifications for individual objects as a function of viewing angle. We derive best-fit source parameters for each SED through comparison with a pre-computed grid of radiative transfer models. While the SED models correctly identify the evolutionary stage of the synthetic sources as embedded protostars, we show that the disk and stellar parameters can be very discrepant from the simulated values. Parameters such as the stellar accretion rate, stellar mass, and disk mass show better agreement, but can still deviate significantly, and the agreement may in some cases be artificially good due to the limited range of parameters in the set of model SEDs. Lack of correlation between the model and simulation properties in many individual instances cautions against over-interpreting properties inferred from SEDs for unresolved protostellar sources. (Abridged)
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2012; 753(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protostellar feedback, both radiation and bipolar outflows, dramatically affects the fragmentation and mass accretion from star-forming cores. We use ORION, an adaptive mesh refinement gravito-radiation-hydrodynamics code, to simulate the formation of a cluster of low-mass stars, including both radiative transfer and protostellar outflows. We ran four simulations to isolate the individual effects of radiation feedback and outflow feedback as well as the combination of the two. Outflows reduce protostellar masses and accretion rates each by a factor of three and therefore reduce protostellar luminosities by an order of magnitude. Thus, while radiation feedback suppresses fragmentation, outflows render protostellar radiation largely irrelevant for low-mass star formation above a mass scale of 0.05 M_sun. We find initial fragmentation of our cloud at half the global Jeans length, ~ 0.1 pc. With insufficient protostellar radiation to stop it, these 0.1 pc cores fragment repeatedly, forming typically 10 stars each. The accretion rate in these stars scales with mass as predicted from core accretion models that include both thermal and turbulent motions. We find that protostellar outflows do not significantly affect the overall cloud dynamics, in the absence of magnetic fields, due to their small opening angles and poor coupling to the dense gas. The outflows reduce the mass from the cores by 2/3, giving a core to star efficiency ~ 1/3. The simulation with radiation and outflows reproduces the observed protostellar luminosity function. All of the simulations can reproduce observed core mass functions, though they are sensitive to telescope resolution. The simulation with both radiation and outflows reproduces the galactic IMF and the two-point correlation function of the cores observed in rho Oph.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2012; 747(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The decay of isothermal turbulence with velocity anisotropy is investigated using computational simulations and synthetic observations. We decompose the turbulence into isotropic and anisotropic components with total velocity dispersions σiso and σani, respectively. We find that the decay rate of the turbulence depends on the crossing time of the isotropic component only. A cloud of size L with significant anisotropy in its turbulence has a dissipation time, t diss = L/(2σiso). This translates into turbulent energy decay rates on the cloud scale that can be much lower for anisotropic turbulence than for isotropic turbulence. To help future observations determine whether observed molecular clouds have the level of anisotropy required to maintain the observed level of turbulence over their lifetimes, we performed a principal component analysis on our simulated clouds. Even with projection effects washing out the anisotropic signal, there is a measurable difference in the axis-constrained principal component analysis performed in directions parallel and perpendicular to the direction of maximum velocity dispersion. When this relative difference, ψ, is 0.1, there is enough anisotropy for the dissipation time to triple the expected isotropic value. We provide a fit for converting ψ into an estimate for the dissipation time, t diss.
    The Astrophysical Journal 08/2011; 738(1):88. · 6.73 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

25 Citations
20.20 Total Impact Points

Top Journals


  • 2011–2012
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Astronomy
      Berkeley, California, United States