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  1. ABSTRACT

    We present the first results of high-spectral resolution (0.023 km s−1) N2H+ observations of dense gas dynamics at core scales (∼0.01 pc) using the recently commissioned Argus instrument on the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). While the fitted linear velocity gradients across the cores measured in our targets nicely agree with the well-known power-law correlation between the specific angular momentum and core size, it is unclear if the observed gradients represent core-scale rotation. In addition, our Argus data reveal detailed and intriguing gas structures in position–velocity (PV) space for all five targets studied in this project, which could suggest that the velocity gradients previously observed in many dense cores actually originate from large-scale turbulence or convergent flow compression instead of rigid-body rotation. We also note that there are targets in this study with their star-forming discs nearly perpendicular to the local velocity gradients, which, assuming the velocity gradient represents the direction of rotation, is opposite to what is described by the classical theory of star formation. This provides important insight on the transport of angular momentum within star-forming cores, which is a critical topic on studying protostellar disc formation.

  2. ABSTRACT Non-ideal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) effects have been shown recently as a robust mechanism of averting the magnetic braking ‘catastrophe’ and promoting protostellar disc formation. However, the magnetic diffusivities that determine the efficiency of non-ideal MHD effects are highly sensitive to microphysics. We carry out non-ideal MHD simulations to explore the role of microphysics on disc formation and the interplay between ambipolar diffusion (AD) and Hall effect during the protostellar collapse. We find that removing the smallest grain population (≲10 nm) from the standard MRN size distribution is sufficient for enabling disc formation. Further varying the grain sizes can result in either a Hall-dominated or an AD-dominated collapse; both form discs of tens of au in size regardless of the magnetic field polarity. The direction of disc rotation is bimodal in the Hall-dominated collapse but unimodal in the AD-dominated collapse. We also find that AD and Hall effect can operate either with or against each other in both radial and azimuthal directions, yet the combined effect of AD and Hall is to move the magnetic field radially outward relative to the infalling envelope matter. In addition, microphysics and magnetic field polarity can leave profound imprints both on observables (e.g. outflow morphology, discmore »to stellar mass ratio) and on the magnetic field characteristics of protoplanetary discs. Including Hall effect relaxes the requirements on microphysics for disc formation, so that prestellar cores with cosmic ray ionization rate of ≲2–3 × 10−16 s−1 can still form small discs of ≲10 au radius. We conclude that disc formation should be relatively common for typical prestellar core conditions, and that microphysics in the protostellar envelope is essential to not only disc formation, but also protoplanetary disc evolution.« less
  3. ABSTRACT Of all the factors that influence star formation, magnetic fields are perhaps the least well understood. The goal of this paper is to characterize the 3D magnetic field properties of nearby molecular clouds through various methods of statistically analysing maps of polarized dust emission. Our study focuses on nine clouds, with data taken from the Planck Sky Survey as well as data from the Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for Polarimetry observations of Vela C. We compare the distributions of polarization fraction (p), dispersion in polarization angles ($\mathcal {S}$), and hydrogen column density (NH) for each of our targeted clouds. To broaden the scope of our analysis, we compare the distributions of our clouds’ polarization observables with measurements from synthetic polarization maps generated from numerical simulations. We also use the distribution of polarization fraction measurements to estimate the inclination angle of each cloud’s cloud-scale magnetic field. We obtain a range of inclination angles associated with our clouds, varying from 16○ to 69○. We establish inverse correlations between p and both $\mathcal {S}$ and NH in almost every cloud, but we are unable to establish a statistically robust $\mathcal {S}$ versus NH trend. By comparing the results of these different statisticalmore »analysis techniques, we are able to propose a more comprehensive view of each cloud’s 3D magnetic field properties. These detailed cloud analyses will be useful in the continued studies of cloud-scale magnetic fields and the ways in which they affect star formation within these molecular clouds.« less
  4. ABSTRACT A number of young circumstellar discs show strikingly ordered (sub)millimetre polarization orientations along the minor axis, which is strong evidence for polarization due to scattering by ∼0.1 mm-sized grains. To test this mechanism further, we model the ALMA dust continuum and polarization data of HD 163296 using radmc-3d. We find that scattering by grains with a maximum size of 90  μm simultaneously reproduces the polarization observed at Band 7 and the unusually low spectral index (α ∼ 1.5) between Bands 7 and 6 in the optically thick inner disc as a result of more efficient scattering at the shorter wavelength. The low spectral index of ∼2.5 inferred for the optically thin gaps is reproduced by the same grains, as a result of telescope beam averaging of the gaps (with an intrinsic α ∼ 4) and their adjacent optically thick rings (where α ≲ 2). The tension between the grain sizes inferred from polarization and spectral index disappears because the low α values do not require large mm-sized grains. In addition, the polarization fraction has a unique azimuthal variation: higher along the major axis than the minor axis in the gaps, but vice versa in the rings. We find a rapidlymore »declining polarization spectrum (with p ∝ λ−3 approximately) in the gaps, which becomes flattened or even inverted towards short wavelengths in the optically thick rings. These contrasting behaviours in the rings and gaps provide further tests for scattering-induced polarization via resolved multiwavelength observations.« less