Published on Sun Feb 20 2022

Trapping of HII regions in Population III star formation

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Radiative feedback from massive Population III (Pop III) stars in the form of ionising and photodissociating photons is widely believed to play a central role in shutting off accretion onto these stars. Understanding whether and how this occurs is vital for predicting the final masses reached by these stars and the form of the Pop III stellar initial mass function. To help us better understand the impact of UV radiation from massive Pop III stars on the gas surrounding them, we carry out high resolution simulations of the formation and early evolution of these stars, using the AREPO moving-mesh code coupled with the innovative radiative transfer module SPRAI. Contrary to most previous results, we find that the ionising radiation from these stars is trapped in the dense accretion disk surrounding them. Consequently, the inclusion of radiative feedback has no significant impact on either the number or the total mass of protostars formed during the 20 kyr period that we simulate. We show that the reason that we obtain qualitatively different results from previous studies of Pop III stellar feedback lies in how the radiation is injected into the simulation. HII region trapping only occurs if the photons are injected on scales smaller than the local scale height of the accretion disk, a criterion not fulfilled in previous 3D simulations of this process. Finally, we speculate as to whether outflows driven by the magnetic field or by Lyman-alpha radiation pressure may be able to clear enough gas away from the star to allow the HII region to escape from the disk.

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