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An early transition to magnetic supercriticality in star formation
Abstract Magnetic fields have an important role in the evolution of interstellar medium and star formation 1,2 . As the only direct probe of interstellar field strength, credible Zeeman measurements remain sparse owing to the lack of suitable Zeeman probes, particularly for cold, molecular gas 3 . Here we report the detection of a magnetic field of +3.8 ± 0.3 microgauss through the H  I narrow self-absorption (HINSA) 4,5 towards L1544 6,7 —a well-studied prototypical prestellar core in an early transition between starless and protostellar phases 8–10 characterized by a high central number density 11 and a low central temperature 12 . A combined analysis of the Zeeman measurements of quasar H  I absorption, H  I emission, OH emission and HINSA reveals a coherent magnetic field from the atomic cold neutral medium (CNM) to the molecular envelope. The molecular envelope traced by the HINSA is found to be magnetically supercritical, with a field strength comparable to that of the surrounding diffuse, magnetically subcritical CNM despite a large increase in density. The reduction of the magnetic flux relative to the mass, which is necessary for star formation, thus seems to have already happened during the transition from the diffuse CNM to the molecular gas more »
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Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10345815
Journal Name:
Nature
Volume:
601
Issue:
7891
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
49 to 52
ISSN:
0028-0836
2. ABSTRACT We report the detection of the far-infrared (FIR) fine-structure line of singly ionized nitrogen, [N ii] 205 $\mu$m , within the peak epoch of galaxy assembly, from a strongly lensed galaxy, hereafter ‘The Red Radio Ring’; the RRR, at z = 2.55. We combine new observations of the ground-state and mid-J transitions of CO (Jup = 1, 5, 8), and the FIR spectral energy distribution (SED), to explore the multiphase interstellar medium (ISM) properties of the RRR. All line profiles suggest that the H ii regions, traced by [N ii] 205 $\mu$m , and the (diffuse and dense) molecular gas, traced by CO, are cospatial when averaged over kpc-sized regions. Using its mid-IR-to-millimetre (mm) SED, we derive a non-negligible dust attenuation of the [N ii] 205 $\mu$m line emission. Assuming a uniform dust screen approximation results a mean molecular gas column density >1024 cm−2, with a molecular gas-to-dust mass ratio of 100. It is clear that dust attenuation corrections should be accounted for when studying FIR fine-structure lines in such systems. The attenuation corrected ratio of $L_{\rm N\,{\small II}205} / L_{\rm IR(8\!-\!1000\, \mu m)} = 2.7 \times 10^{-4}$ is consistent with the dispersion of local and z > 4 SFGs. We find that the lower limit, [N ii] 205 $\mu$m -based star formation rate (SFR) is less thanmore »
ABSTRACT Polarized dust continuum emission has been observed with Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in an increasing number of deeply embedded protostellar systems. It generally shows a sharp transition going from the protostellar envelope to the disc scale, with the polarization fraction typically dropping from ${\sim } 5{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ to ${\sim } 1{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ and the inferred magnetic field orientations becoming more aligned with the major axis of the system. We quantitatively investigate these observational trends using a sample of protostars in the Perseus molecular cloud and compare these features with a non-ideal magnetohydrodynamic disc formation simulation. We find that the gas density increases faster than the magnetic field strength in the transition from the envelope to the disc scale, which makes it more difficult to magnetically align the grains on the disc scale. Specifically, to produce the observed ${\sim } 1{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ polarization at ${\sim } 100\, \mathrm{au}$ scale via grains aligned with the B-field, even relatively small grains of $1\, \mathrm{\mu m}$ in size need to have their magnetic susceptibilities significantly enhanced (by a factor of ∼20) over the standard value, potentially through superparamagnetic inclusions. This requirement is more stringent for larger grains,more »