Gravitational Collapse of Filamentary Magnetized Molecular Clouds Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We develop models for the self-similar collapse of magnetized isothermal cylinders. We find solutions for the case of a fluid with a constant toroidal flux-to-mass ratio (Gamma_phi=constant) and the case of a fluid with a constant gas to magnetic pressure ratio (beta=constant). In both cases, we find that a low magnetization results in density profiles that behave as rho ~ r^{-4} at large radii, and at high magnetization we find density profiles that behave as rho ~ r^{-2}. This density behaviour is the same as for hydrostatic filamentary structures, suggesting that density measurements alone cannot distinguish between hydrostatic and collapsing filaments--velocity measurements are required. Our solutions show that the self-similar radial velocity behaves as v_r ~ r during the collapse phase, and that unlike collapsing self-similar spheres, there is no subsequent accretion (i.e. expansion-wave) phase. We also examine the fragmentation properties of these cylinders, and find that in both cases, the presence of a toroidal field acts to strengthen the cylinder against fragmentation. Finally, the collapse time scales in our models are shorter than the fragmentation time scales. Thus, we anticipate that highly collapsed filaments can form before they are broken into pieces by gravitational fragmentation.

publication date

  • August 10, 2003