Astrophys. J., 797, 99 (2014/December-3)
The importance of the magnetic field from an SMA-CSO-combined sample of star-forming regions.
KOCH P.M., TANG Y.-W., HO P.T.P., ZHANG Q., GIRART J.M., CHEN H.-R.V., FRAU P., LI H.-B., LI Z.-Y., LIU H.-Y.B., PADOVANI M., QIU K., YEN H.-W., CHEN H.-H., CHING T.-C., LAI S.-P. and RAO R.
Abstract (from CDS):
Submillimeter dust polarization measurements of a sample of 50 star-forming regions, observed with the Submillimeter Array (SMA) and the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) covering parsec-scale clouds to milliparsec-scale cores, are analyzed in order to quantify the magnetic field importance. The magnetic field misalignment δ–the local angle between magnetic field and dust emission gradient–is found to be a prime observable, revealing distinct distributions for sources where the magnetic field is preferentially aligned with or perpendicular to the source minor axis. Source-averaged misalignment angles < |δ| > fall into systematically different ranges, reflecting the different source-magnetic field configurations. Possible bimodal < |δ| > distributions are found for the separate SMA and CSO samples. Combining both samples broadens the distribution with a wide maximum peak at small < |δ| > values. Assuming the 50 sources to be representative, the prevailing source-magnetic field configuration is one that statistically prefers small magnetic field misalignments|δ|. When interpreting|δ| together with a magnetohydrodynamics force equation, as developed in the framework of the polarization-intensity gradient method, a sample-based log-linear scaling fits the magnetic field tension-to-gravity force ratio < ΣB > versus < |δ| > with < ΣB > = 0.116. exp (0.047. < |δ| > )±0.20 (mean error), providing a way to estimate the relative importance of the magnetic field, only based on measurable field misalignments|δ|. The force ratio ΣB discriminates systems that are collapsible on average ( < ΣB > < 1) from other molecular clouds where the magnetic field still provides enough resistance against gravitational collapse ( < ΣB > > 1). The sample-wide trend shows a transition around < |δ| > ~ 45°. Defining an effective gravitational force ∼1 - < ΣB > , the average magnetic-field-reduced star formation efficiency is at least a factor of two smaller than the free-fall efficiency. For about one fourth of the sources the average efficiency drops to zero. The force ratio ΣB can further be linked to the normalized mass-to-flux ratio, yielding an estimate for the latter one without the need of field strength measurements. Across the sample, a transition from magnetically supercritical to subcritcal is observed with growing misalignment < |δ| > .
ISM: clouds - ISM: magnetic fields - polarization
Sources I18360, IRAS 05327, G34.4.0 and G34.4.1 were not identified.
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