The role of non-ionizing radiation pressure in star formation: the stability of cores and filaments
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Astron
Univ Arizona, Steward Observ
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PublisherOXFORD UNIV PRESS
CitationThe role of non-ionizing radiation pressure in star formation: the stability of cores and filaments 2016, 461 (1):1088 Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Rights© 2016 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.
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AbstractStars form when filaments and dense cores in molecular clouds fragment and collapse due to self-gravity. In the most basic analyses of gravitational stability, the competition between self-gravity and thermal pressure sets the critical (i.e. maximum stable) mass of spheres and the critical line density of cylinders. Previous work has considered additional support from magnetic fields and turbulence. Here, we consider the effects of non-ionizing radiation, specifically the inward radiation pressure force that acts on dense structures embedded in an isotropic radiation field. Using hydrostatic, isothermal models, we find that irradiation lowers the critical mass and line density for gravitational collapse, and can thus act as a trigger for star formation. For structures with moderate central densities, similar to 10(3) cm(-3), the interstellar radiation field in the Solar vicinity has an order unity effect on stability thresholds. For more evolved objects with higher central densities, a significant lowering of stability thresholds requires stronger irradiation, as can be found closer to the Galactic centre or near stellar associations. Even when strong sources of ionizing radiation are absent or extincted, our study shows that interstellar irradiation can significantly influence the star formation process.
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