Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 436, 3247-3261 (2013/December-3)
A supersonic turbulence origin of Larson's laws.
KRITSUK A.G., LEE C.T. and NORMAN M.L.
Abstract (from CDS):
We revisit the origin of Larson's scaling laws describing the structure and kinematics of molecular clouds. Our analysis is based on recent observational measurements and data from a suite of six simulations of the interstellar medium, including effects of self-gravity, turbulence, magnetic field and multiphase thermodynamics. Simulations of isothermal supersonic turbulence reproduce observed slopes in linewidth-size and mass-size relations. Whether or not self-gravity is included, the linewidth-size relation remains the same. The mass-size relation, instead, substantially flattens below the sonic scale, as prestellar cores start to form. Our multiphase models with magnetic field and domain size 200pc reproduce both scaling and normalization of the first Larson law. The simulations support a turbulent interpretation of Larson's relations. This interpretation implies that: (i) the slopes of linewidth-size and mass-size correlations are determined by the inertial cascade; (ii) none of the three Larson laws is fundamental; (iii) instead, if one is known, the other two follow from scale invariance of the kinetic energy transfer rate. It does not imply that gravity is dynamically unimportant. The self-similarity of structure established by the turbulence breaks in star-forming clouds due to the development of gravitational instability in the vicinity of the sonic scale. The instability leads to the formation of prestellar cores with the characteristic mass set by the sonic scale. The high-end slope of the core mass function predicted by the scaling relations is consistent with the Salpeter power-law index.