15,173 research outputs found

    Kolmogorov-Burgers Model for Star Forming Turbulence

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    The process of star formation in interstellar molecular clouds is believed to be controlled by driven supersonic magnetohydrodynamic turbulence. We suggest that in the inertial range such turbulence obeys the Kolmogorov law, while in the dissipative range it behaves as Burgers turbulence developing shock singularities. On the base of the She-Leveque analytical model we then predict the velocity power spectrum in the inertial range to be E_k ~ k^{-1.74}. This result reproduces the observational Larson law, ~ l^{0.74...0.76}, [Larson, MNRAS 194 (1981) 809] and agrees well with recent numerical findings by Padoan and Nordlund [astro-ph/0011465]. The application of the model to more general dissipative structures, with higher fractal dimensionality, leads to better agreement with recent observational results.Comment: revised, new material added, 8 page

    Scaling relations of supersonic turbulence in star-forming molecular clouds

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    We present a direct numerical and analytical study of driven supersonic MHD turbulence that is believed to govern the dynamics of star-forming molecular clouds. We describe statistical properties of the turbulence by measuring the velocity difference structure functions up to the fifth order. In particular, the velocity power spectrum in the inertial range is found to be close to E(k) \~ k^{-1.74}, and the velocity difference scales as ~ L^{0.42}. The results agree well with the Kolmogorov--Burgers analytical model suggested for supersonic turbulence in [astro-ph/0108300]. We then generalize the model to more realistic, fractal structure of molecular clouds, and show that depending on the fractal dimension of a given molecular cloud, the theoretical value for the velocity spectrum spans the interval [-1.74 ... -1.89], while the corresponding window for the velocity difference scaling exponent is [0.42 ... 0.78].Comment: 17 pages, 6 figures include

    Formation of the First Stars by Accretion

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    The process of star formation from metal-free gas is investigated by following the evolution of accreting protostars with emphasis on the properties of massive objects. The main aim is to establish the physical processes that determine the upper mass limit of the first stars. Although the consensus is that massive stars were commonly formed in the first cosmic structures, our calculations show that their actual formation depends sensitively on the mass accretion rate and its time variation. Even in the rather idealized case in which star formation is mainly determined by dot{M}acc, the characteristic mass scale of the first stars is rather uncertain. We find that there is a critical mass accretion rate dot{M}crit = 4 10^{-3} Msun/yr that separates solutions with dot{M}acc> 100 Msun can form, provided there is sufficient matter in the parent clouds, from others (dot{M}acc > dot{M}crit) where the maximum mass limit decreases as dot{M}acc increases. In the latter case, the protostellar luminosity reaches the Eddington limit before the onset of hydrogen burning at the center via the CN-cycle. This phase is followed by a rapid and dramatic expansion of the radius, possibly leading to reversal of the accretion flow when the stellar mass is about 100Msun. (abridged)Comment: 34 pages, 12 figures. ApJ, in pres

    Flows, Fragmentation, and Star Formation. I. Low-mass Stars in Taurus

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    The remarkably filamentary spatial distribution of young stars in the Taurus molecular cloud has significant implications for understanding low-mass star formation in relatively quiescent conditions. The large scale and regular spacing of the filaments suggests that small-scale turbulence is of limited importance, which could be consistent with driving on large scales by flows which produced the cloud. The small spatial dispersion of stars from gaseous filaments indicates that the low-mass stars are generally born with small velocity dispersions relative to their natal gas, of order the sound speed or less. The spatial distribution of the stars exhibits a mean separation of about 0.25 pc, comparable to the estimated Jeans length in the densest gaseous filaments, and is consistent with roughly uniform density along the filaments. The efficiency of star formation in filaments is much higher than elsewhere, with an associated higher frequency of protostars and accreting T Tauri stars. The protostellar cores generally are aligned with the filaments, suggesting that they are produced by gravitational fragmentation, resulting in initially quasi-prolate cores. Given the absence of massive stars which could strongly dominate cloud dynamics, Taurus provides important tests of theories of dispersed low-mass star formation and numerical simulations of molecular cloud structure and evolution.Comment: 32 pages, 9 figures: to appear in Ap

    Hands-on Gravitational Wave Astronomy: Extracting astrophysical information from simulated signals

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    In this paper we introduce a hands-on activity in which introductory astronomy students act as gravitational wave astronomers by extracting information from simulated gravitational wave signals. The process mimics the way true gravitational wave analysis will be handled by using plots of a pure gravitational wave signal. The students directly measure the properties of the simulated signal, and use these measurements to evaluate standard formulae for astrophysical source parameters. An exercise based on the discussion in this paper has been written and made publicly available online for use in introductory laboratory courses.Comment: 5 pages, 4 figures; submitted to Am. J. Phy

    Thermal and Fragmentation Properties of Star-forming Clouds in Low-metallicity Environments

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    The thermal and chemical evolution of star-forming clouds is studied for different gas metallicities, Z, using the model of Omukai (2000), updated to include deuterium chemistry and the effects of cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. HD-line cooling dominates the thermal balance of clouds when Z \~ 10^{-5}-10^{-3} Z_sun and density ~10^{5} cm^{-3}. Early on, CMB radiation prevents the gas temperature to fall below T_CMB, although this hardly alters the cloud thermal evolution in low-metallicity gas. From the derived temperature evolution, we assess cloud/core fragmentation as a function of metallicity from linear perturbation theory, which requires that the core elongation E := (b-a)/a > E_NL ~ 1, where a (b) is the short (long) core axis length. The fragment mass is given by the thermal Jeans mass at E = E_NL. Given these assumptions and the initial (gaussian) distribution of E we compute the fragment mass distribution as a function of metallicity. We find that: (i) For Z=0, all fragments are very massive, > 10^{3}M_sun, consistently with previous studies; (ii) for Z>10^{-6} Z_sun a few clumps go through an additional high density (> 10^{10} cm^{-3}) fragmentation phase driven by dust-cooling, leading to low-mass fragments; (iii) The mass fraction in low-mass fragments is initially very small, but at Z ~ 10^{-5}Z_sun it becomes dominant and continues to grow as Z is increased; (iv) as a result of the two fragmentation modes, a bimodal mass distribution emerges in 0.01 0.1Z_sun, the two peaks merge into a singly-peaked mass function which might be regarded as the precursor of the ordinary Salpeter-like IMF.Comment: 38 pages, 16 figures, ApJ in pres

    Magnetically Regulated Star Formation in Turbulent Clouds

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    We investigate numerically the combined effects of supersonic turbulence, strong magnetic fields and ambipolar diffusion on cloud evolution leading to star formation. We find that, in clouds that are initially magnetically subcritical, supersonic turbulence can speed up star formation, through enhanced ambipolar diffusion in shocks. The speedup overcomes a major objection to the standard scenario of low-mass star formation involving ambipolar diffusion, since the diffusion time scale at the average density of a molecular cloud is typically longer than the cloud life time. At the same time, the strong magnetic field can prevent the large-scale supersonic turbulence from converting most of the cloud mass into stars in one (short) turbulence crossing time, and thus alleviate the high efficiency problem associated with the turbulence-controlled picture for low-mass star formation. We propose that relatively rapid but inefficient star formation results from supersonic collisions of somewhat subcritical gas in strongly magnetized, turbulent clouds. The salient features of this shock-accelerated, ambipolar diffusion-regulated scenario are demonstrated with numerical experiments.Comment: 10 pages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ

    Modeling a high mass turn down in the stellar initial mass function

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    Statistical sampling from the stellar initial mass function (IMF) for all star-forming regions in the Galaxy would lead to the prediction of ~1000 Msun stars unless there is a rapid turn-down in the IMF beyond several hundred solar masses. Such a turndown is not necessary for dense clusters because the number of stars sampled is always too small. Here we explore several mechanisms for an upper mass cutoff, including an exponential decline of the star formation probability after a turbulent crossing time. The results are in good agreement with the observed IMF over the entire stellar mass range, and they give a gradual turn down compared to the Salpeter function above ~100 Msun for normal thermal Jeans mass, M_J. The upper mass turn down should scale with M_J in different environments. A problem with the models is that they cannot give both the observed power-law IMF out to the high-mass sampling limit in dense clusters, as well as the observed lack of supermassive stars in whole galaxy disks. Either there is a sharper upper-mass cutoff in the IMF, perhaps from self-limitation, or the IMF is different for dense clusters than for the majority of star formation that occurs at lower density. Dense clusters seem to have an overabundance of massive stars relative to the average IMF in a galaxy.Comment: 19 pages, 2 figures, Astrophysical Journal, Vol 539, August 10, 200

    The star formation histories of early-type galaxies: insights from the rest-frame ultra-violet

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    Our current understanding of the star formation histories of early-type galaxies is reviewed, in the context of recent observational studies of their ultra-violet (UV) properties. Combination of UV and optical spectro-photometric data indicates that the bulk of the stellar mass in the early-type population forms at high redshift (z > 2), typically over short timescales (< 1 Gyr). Nevertheless, early-types of all luminosities form stars over the lifetime of the Universe, with most luminous (-23 < M(V) < -21) systems forming 10-15% of their stellar mass after z = 1 (with a scatter to higher value), while their less luminous (M(V) > -21) counterparts form 30-60% of their mass in the same redshift range. The large scatter in the (rest-frame) UV colours in the redshift range 0 < z < 0.7 indicates widespread low-level star formation in the early-type population over the last 8 billion years. The mass fraction of young (< 1 Gyr old) stars in luminous early-type galaxies varies between 1% and 6% at z~0 and is in the range 5-13% at z~0.7. The intensity of recent star formation and the bulk of the UV colour distribution is consistent with what might be expected from minor mergers (mass ratios < 1:6) in an LCDM cosmology.Comment: Brief Review, Mod. Phys. Lett.

    Determination of the zeta potential for highly charged colloidal suspensions

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    We compute the electrostatic potential at the surface, or zeta potential ζ\zeta, of a charged particle embedded in a colloidal suspension using a hybrid mesoscopic model. We show that for weakly perturbing electric fields, the value of ζ\zeta obtained at steady state during electrophoresis is statistically indistinguishable from ζ\zeta in thermodynamic equilibrium. We quantify the effect of counterions concentration on ζ\zeta. We also evaluate the relevance of the lattice resolution for the calculation of ζ\zeta and discuss how to identify the effective electrostatic radius.Comment: 8 pages, 3 figures with 2 panel
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