Models of a Circumbinary Disk

GG Tau

An image of GG Tau, a quadruple system, from the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii. The two white stars each mark a binary system; the bottom star marks the binary GG Tau A. [Daniel Potter/University of Hawaii Adaptive Optics Group/Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF]

Last week, we discussed a model for how binary star systems might form. The image above (click for the full view!) captures a scene from another study of the formation of multiple-star systems: a series of 2D hydrodynamics simulations of a self-gravitating binary system surrounded by a circumbinary disk. These simulations were performed by Andrew Nelson (Los Alamos National Laboratory) and Francesco Marzari (University of Padua, Italy), who were attempting to better understand observations of GG Tau A, one of two binaries in the quadruple star system GG Tau. Nelson and Marzari use their simulations to demonstrate how spiral structures could form within the circumbinary disk, and how material from the circumbinary disk can substantially feed the individual accretion disks around each star, if the stars are in a wide orbit. To find out more about what they learned (and to see more awesome simulation images!), check out the paper below.


Andrew F. Nelson and F. Marzari 2016 ApJ 827 93. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/827/2/93