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  1. Abstract In this paper, we carry out a pilot parameter exploration for the collision-induced magnetic reconnection (CMR) mechanism that forms filamentary molecular clouds. Following Kong et al., we utilize Athena++ to model CMR in the context of resistive magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), considering the effect from seven physical conditions, including the ohmic resistivity ( η ), the magnetic field ( B ), the cloud density ( ρ ), the cloud radius R , the isothermal temperature T , the collision velocity v x , and the shear velocity v z . Compared to their fiducial model, we consider a higher and a lower value for each one of the seven parameters. We quantify the exploration results with five metrics, including the density probability distribution function ( ρ -PDF), the filament morphology (250 μ m dust emission), the B – ρ relation, the dominant fiber width, and the ringiness that describes the significance of the ringlike substructures. The exploration forms straight and curved CMR filaments with rich substructures that are highly variable in space and time. The variation translates to fluctuation in all five metrics, reflecting the chaotic nature of magnetic reconnection in CMR. A temporary B ∝ ρ relation is noticeable during the first 0.6 Myr. Overall, the exploration provides useful initial insights into the CMR mechanism. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024

    The cold neutral medium (CNM) is an important part of the galactic gas cycle and a precondition for the formation of molecular and star-forming gas, yet its distribution is still not fully understood. In this work, we present extremely high resolution simulations of spiral galaxies with time-dependent chemistry such that we can track the formation of the CNM, its distribution within the galaxy, and its correlation with star formation. We find no strong radial dependence between the CNM fraction and total neutral atomic hydrogen (H i) due to the decreasing interstellar radiation field counterbalancing the decreasing gas column density at larger galactic radii. However, the CNM fraction does increase in spiral arms where the CNM distribution is clumpy, rather than continuous, overlapping more closely with H2. The CNM does not extend out radially as far as H i, and the vertical scale height is smaller in the outer galaxy compared to H i with no flaring. The CNM column density scales with total mid-plane pressure and disappears from the gas phase below values of PT/kB = 1000 K cm−3. We find that the star formation rate density follows a similar scaling law with CNM column density to the total gas Kennicutt–Schmidt law. In the outer galaxy, we produce realistic vertical velocity dispersions in the H i purely from galactic dynamics, but our models do not predict CNM at the extremely large radii observed in H i absorption studies of the Milky Way. We suggest that extended spiral arms might produce isolated clumps of CNM at these radii.

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    We revisit the conditions present in supermassive discs (SMDs) formed by the merger of gas-rich, metal-enriched galaxies at redshift z ∼ 10. We find that SMDs naturally form hydrostatic cores which go through a rapidly accreting supermassive star phase, before directly collapsing into massive black holes via the general relativistic instability. The growth and collapse of the cores occurs within ∼5 × 105 yr from the formation of the SMD, producing bright electromagnetic, neutrino and gravitational wave transients with a typical duration of a few minutes and, respectively, a typical flux and a typical strain amplitude at Earth of ∼10−8 erg s−1 cm−2 and ∼4 × 10−21. We provide a simple fitting formula for the resulting black hole masses, which range from a few 106 to 108 M⊙ depending on the initial SMD configuration. Crucially, our analysis does not require any specific assumption on the thermal properties of the gas, nor on the angular momentum loss mechanisms within the SMD. Led by these findings, we argue that the merger-driven scenario provides a robust pathway for the rapid formation of supermassive black holes at z > 6. It provides an explanation for the origin of the brightest and oldest quasars without the need of a sustained growth phase from a much smaller seed. Its smoking gun signatures can be tested directly via multimessenger observations.

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  4. Abstract The ultrafaint dwarf galaxy Reticulum II was enriched by a single rare and prolific r -process event. The r -process content of Reticulum II thus provides a unique opportunity to study metal mixing in a relic first galaxy. Using multi-object high-resolution spectroscopy with VLT/GIRAFFE and Magellan/M2FS, we identify 32 clear spectroscopic member stars and measure abundances of Mg, Ca, Fe, and Ba where possible. We find 72 − 12 + 10 % of the stars are r -process-enhanced, with a mean [ Ba / H ] = − 1.68 ± 0.07 and unresolved intrinsic dispersion σ [Ba/H] <0.20. The homogeneous r -process abundances imply that Ret II’s metals are well mixed by the time the r -enhanced stars form, which simulations have shown requires at least 100 Myr of metal mixing in between bursts of star formation to homogenize. This is the first direct evidence of bursty star formation in an ultrafaint dwarf galaxy. The homogeneous dilution prefers a prompt and high-yield r -process site, such as collapsar disk winds or prompt neutron star mergers. We also find evidence from [Ba/H] and [Mg/Ca] that the r -enhanced stars in Ret II formed in the absence of substantial pristine gas accretion, perhaps indicating that ≈70% of Ret II stars formed after reionization. 
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    Molecular hydrogen allows cooling in primordial gas, facilitating its collapse into Population III stars within primordial halos. Lyman–Werner (LW) radiation from these stars can escape the halo and delay further star formation by destroying H2 in other halos. As cosmological simulations show that increasing the background LW field strength increases the average halo mass required for star formation, we perform follow-up simulations of selected halos to investigate the knock-on effects this has on the Population III IMF. We follow 5 halos for each of the J21  = 0, 0.01, and 0.1 LW field strengths, resolving the pre-stellar core density of 10−6 g cm−3 (1018 cm−3) before inserting sink particles and following the fragmentation behaviour for hundreds of years further. We find that the mass accreted onto sinks by the end of the simulations is proportional to the mass within the ∼10−2 pc molecular core, which is not correlated to the initial mass of the halo. As such, the IMFs for masses above the brown dwarf limit show little dependence on the LW strength, although they do show variance in the number of low-mass clumps formed. As the range of background LW field strengths tested here covers the most likely values from literature, we conclude that the IMF for so-called Pop III.2 stars is not significantly different from the initial population of Pop III.1 stars. The primordial IMF therefore likely remains unchanged until the formation of the next generation of Population II stars.

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    Many studies concluded that magnetic fields suppress star formation in molecular clouds and Milky Way like galaxies. However, most of these studies are based on fully developed fields that have reached the saturation level, with little work on investigating how an initial weak primordial field affects star formation in low metallicity environments. In this paper, we investigate the impact of a weak initial field on low metallicity dwarf galaxies. We perform high-resolution arepo simulations of five isolated dwarf galaxies. Two models are hydrodynamical, two start with a primordial magnetic field of 10$^{-6} \, \mu$G and different sub-solar metallicities, and one starts with a saturated field of 10$^{-2} \, \mu$G. All models include a non-equilibrium, time-dependent chemical network that includes the effects of gas shielding from the ambient ultraviolet field. Sink particles form directly from the gravitational collapse of gas and are treated as star-forming clumps that can accrete gas. We vary the ambient uniform far ultraviolet field, and cosmic ray ionization rate between 1 per cent and 10 per cent of solar values. We find that the magnetic field has little impact on the global star formation rate (SFR), which is in tension with some previously published results. We further find that the initial field strength has little impact on the global SFR. We show that an increase in the mass fractions of both molecular hydrogen and cold gas, along with changes in the perpendicular gas velocity dispersion and the magnetic field acting in the weak-field model, overcome the expected suppression in star formation.

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    The Central Molecular Zone (CMZ; the central ∼500 pc of the Galaxy) is a kinematically unusual environment relative to the Galactic disc, with high-velocity dispersions and a steep size–linewidth relation of the molecular clouds. In addition, the CMZ region has a significantly lower star formation rate (SFR) than expected by its large amount of dense gas. An important factor in explaining the low SFR is the turbulent state of the star-forming gas, which seems to be dominated by rotational modes. However, the turbulence driving mechanism remains unclear. In this work, we investigate how the Galactic gravitational potential affects the turbulence in CMZ clouds. We focus on the CMZ cloud G0.253+0.016 (‘the Brick’), which is very quiescent and unlikely to be kinematically dominated by stellar feedback. We demonstrate that several kinematic properties of the Brick arise naturally in a cloud-scale hydrodynamics simulation, that takes into account the Galactic gravitational potential. These properties include the line-of-sight velocity distribution, the steepened size–linewidth relation, and the predominantly solenoidal nature of the turbulence. Within the simulation, these properties result from the Galactic shear in combination with the cloud’s gravitational collapse. This is a strong indication that the Galactic gravitational potential plays a crucial role in shaping the CMZ gas kinematics, and is a major contributor to suppressing the SFR, by inducing predominantly solenoidal turbulent modes.

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  8. Abstract The CO-to-H 2 conversion factor ( α CO ) is central to measuring the amount and properties of molecular gas. It is known to vary with environmental conditions, and previous studies have revealed lower α CO in the centers of some barred galaxies on kiloparsec scales. To unveil the physical drivers of such variations, we obtained Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array bands (3), (6), and (7) observations toward the inner ∼2 kpc of NGC 3627 and NGC 4321 tracing 12 CO, 13 CO, and C 18 O lines on ∼100 pc scales. Our multiline modeling and Bayesian likelihood analysis of these data sets reveal variations of molecular gas density, temperature, optical depth, and velocity dispersion, which are among the key drivers of α CO . The central 300 pc nuclei in both galaxies show strong enhancement of temperature T k ≳ 100 K and density n H 2 > 10 3 cm −3 . Assuming a CO-to-H 2 abundance of 3 × 10 −4 , we derive 4–15 times lower α CO than the Galactic value across our maps, which agrees well with previous kiloparsec-scale measurements. Combining the results with our previous work on NGC 3351, we find a strong correlation of α CO with low- J 12 CO optical depths ( τ CO ), as well as an anticorrelation with T k . The τ CO correlation explains most of the α CO variation in the three galaxy centers, whereas changes in T k influence α CO to second order. Overall, the observed line width and 12 CO/ 13 CO 2–1 line ratio correlate with τ CO variation in these centers, and thus they are useful observational indicators for α CO variation. We also test current simulation-based α CO prescriptions and find a systematic overprediction, which likely originates from the mismatch of gas conditions between our data and the simulations. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  9. Abstract The mass distribution of dense cores is a potential key to understanding the process of star formation. Applying dendrogram analysis to the CARMA-NRO Orion C 18 O ( J = 1–0) data, we identify 2342 dense cores, about 22% of which have virial ratios smaller than 2 and can be classified as gravitationally bound cores. The derived core mass function (CMF) for bound starless cores that are not associate with protostars has a slope similar to Salpeter’s initial mass function (IMF) for the mass range above 1 M ⊙ , with a peak at ∼0.1 M ⊙ . We divide the cloud into four parts based on decl., OMC-1/2/3, OMC-4/5, L1641N/V380 Ori, and L1641C, and derive the CMFs in these regions. We find that starless cores with masses greater than 10 M ⊙ exist only in OMC-1/2/3, whereas the CMFs in OMC-4/5, L1641N, and L1641C are truncated at around 5–10 M ⊙ . From the number ratio of bound starless cores and Class II objects in each subregion, the lifetime of bound starless cores is estimated to be 5–30 freefall times, consistent with previous studies for other regions. In addition, we discuss core growth by mass accretion from the surrounding cloud material to explain the coincidence of peak masses between IMFs and CMFs. The mass accretion rate required for doubling the core mass within a core lifetime is larger than that of Bondi–Hoyle accretion by a factor of order 2. This implies that more dynamical accretion processes are required to grow cores. 
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  10. Abstract

    Feedback from massive stars plays an important role in the formation of star clusters. Whether a very massive star is born early or late in the cluster formation timeline has profound implications for the star cluster formation and assembly processes. We carry out a controlled experiment to characterize the effects of early-forming massive stars on star cluster formation. We use the star formation software suiteTorch, combining self-gravitating magnetohydrodynamics, ray-tracing radiative transfer,N-body dynamics, and stellar feedback, to model four initially identical 104Mgiant molecular clouds with a Gaussian density profile peaking at 521.5 cm−3. Using theTorchsoftware suite through theAMUSEframework, we modify three of the models, to ensure that the first star that forms is very massive (50, 70, and 100M). Early-forming massive stars disrupt the natal gas structure, resulting in fast evacuation of the gas from the star-forming region. The star formation rate is suppressed, reducing the total mass of the stars formed. Our fiducial control model, without an early massive star, has a larger star formation rate and total efficiency by up to a factor of 3, and a higher average star formation efficiency per freefall time by up to a factor of 7. Early-forming massive stars promote the buildup of spatially separate and gravitationally unbound subclusters, while the control model forms a single massive cluster.

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