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Testing the universality of star formation – II. Comparing separation distributions of nearby star-forming regions and the field




We have measured the multiplicity fractions and separation distributions of seven young star-forming regions using a uniform sample of young binaries. Both the multiplicity fractions and separation distributions are similar in the different regions. A tentative decline in the multiplicity fraction with increasing stellar density is apparent, even for binary systems with separations too close (19–100 au) to have been dynamically processed. The separation distributions in the different regions are statistically indistinguishable over most separation ranges, and the regions with higher densities do not exhibit a lower proportion of wide (300–620 au) relative to close (62–300 au) binaries as might be expected from the preferential destruction of wider pairs. Only the closest (19–100 au) separation range, which would be unaffected by dynamical processing, shows a possible difference in separation distributions between different regions. The combined set of young binaries, however, shows a distinct difference when compared to field binaries, with a significant excess of close (19–100 au) systems among the younger binaries. Based on both the similarities and differences between individual regions, and between all seven young regions and the field, especially over separation ranges too close to be modified by dynamical processing, we conclude that multiple star formation is not universal and, by extension, the star formation process is not universal.