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Star Formation in Molecular Cloud Cores

  • Frank H. Shu (a1), Susana Lizano (a1) and Fred C. Adams (a1)

Abstract

The problem of gravitational collapse and star formation is entirely different when the ratio of the mass of a molecular cloud M cl to its magnetic flux Φ is high than when it is low. Magnetically-diluted overall collapse of a large dense core and the formation of an OB association or a bound cluster are the likely outcomes in the former case; quasi-static contraction of many small cores and their ultimate collapse to form a T association, in the latter. In our picture, the birth of a T association in a dark cloud like Taurus proceeds by ambipolar diffusion on a time-scale of ∼ 107 years. As magnetic and turbulent support is gradually lost from a small condensing core, it approaches a state resembling a slowly rotating singular isothermal sphere which, when it passes the brink of instability, collapses from “inside-out,” building up a central protostar and nebular disk. The emergent spectral energy distributions of theoretical models in this stage of protostellar evolution resemble closely those of recently found sources with steep spectra in the infrared. The protostellar phase is ended by the reversal of the infall by an intense stellar wind, whose ultimate source of energy derived from the differential rotation of the star. We argue that the initial breakout is likely to occur along the rotational poles, leading to collimated jets and bipolar outflows. The stellar jet eventually widens to sweep out gas in nearly all 4π steradian, revealing at the center a T Tauri star and a remnant nebular disk. We give rough scaling relations which must apply if an analogous process is to succeed for producing high mass stars.

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Copyright

References

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