Li, Y, Kouwenhoven, MBN, Stamatellos, D orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4502-8344 and Goodwin, S (2016) THE LONG-TERM DYNAMICAL EVOLUTION OF DISK-FRAGMENTED MULTIPLE SYSTEMS IN THE SOLAR NEIGHBORHOOD. The Astrophysical Journal, 831 (2). p. 10. ISSN 0004-637X

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The origin of very low-mass hydrogen-burning stars, brown dwarfs (BDs), and planetary-mass objects (PMOs) at the low-mass end of the initial mass function is not yet fully understood. Gravitational fragmentation of circumstellar disks provides a possible mechanism for the formation of such low-mass objects. The kinematic and binary properties of very low-mass objects formed through disk fragmentation at early times (<10 Myr) were discussed in our previous paper. In this paper we extend the analysis by following the long-term evolution of disk- fragmented systems up to an age of 10 Gyr, covering the ages of the stellar and substellar populations in the Galactic field. We find that the systems continue to decay, although the rates at which companions escape or collide with each other are substantially lower than during the first 10 Myr, and that dynamical evolution is limited beyond 1 Gyr. By t = 10 Gyr, about one third of the host stars are single, and more than half have only one companion left. Most of the other systems have two companions left that orbit their host star in widely separated orbits. A small fraction of companions have formed binaries that orbit the host star in a hierarchical triple configuration. The majority of such double-companion systems have internal orbits that are retrograde with respect to their orbits around their host stars. Our simulations allow a comparison between the predicted outcomes of disk fragmentation with the observed low-mass hydrogen-burning stars, BDs, and PMOs in the solar neighborhood. Imaging and radial velocity surveys for faint binary companions among nearby stars are necessary for verification or rejection of the formation mechanism proposed in this paper.

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