Published in

Astronomy & Astrophysics, (634), p. L11, 2020

DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201937154



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Spiral arms and instability within the AFGL 4176 mm1 disc

This paper was not found in any repository, but could be made available legally by the author.
This paper was not found in any repository, but could be made available legally by the author.

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Data provided by SHERPA/RoMEO


We present high-resolution (30 mas or 130 au at 4.2 kpc) Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array observations at 1.2 mm of the disc around the forming O-type star AFGL 4176 mm1. The disc (AFGL 4176 mm1-main) has a radius of ∼1000 au and contains significant structure, most notably a spiral arm on its redshifted side. We fitted the observed spiral with logarithmic and Archimedean spiral models. We find that both models can describe its structure, but the Archimedean spiral with a varying pitch angle fits its morphology marginally better. As well as signatures of rotation across the disc, we observe gas arcs in CH3CN that connect to other millimetre continuum sources in the field, supporting the picture of interactions within a small cluster around AFGL 4176 mm1-main. Using local thermodynamic equilibrium modelling of the CH3CN K-ladder, we determine the temperature and velocity field across the disc, and thus produce a map of the Toomre stability parameter. Our results indicate that the outer disc is gravitationally unstable and has already fragmented or is likely to fragment in the future, possibly producing further companions. These observations provide evidence that disc fragmentation is one possible pathway towards explaining the high fraction of multiple systems around high-mass stars.

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