Gravity turns gas into stars. Today’s astrobite introduces a new way to study gravity’s pull in a molecular cloud – the birthplace of new stars.
In this article, the authors measure the cosmic ray ionization rate within a few parsecs of the galactic center. They find that the cosmic ray ionization rate is an order of magnitude larger than the galactic standard and also that the molecular gas near the galactic center is much warmer than the typical galactic molecular cloud.
This paper presents three famous relations very important for understanding the inner workings of molecular clouds and star formation processes.
Understanding the structure of our Milky Way is as difficult as trying to see the forest from the trees. Among the many uncertainties, we don’t know whether the molecular ring is really due to a ring structure or it is simply produced by the spiral arms.
The common picture of star formation includes the gravitational collapse of cores within molecular clouds, with mass accreting either directly or via a disk. An important aspect of the model is that some component must lower the angular momentum of the accreting material. By observing infalling envelopes, especially at different stages of star formation, the mechanism for mass accretion can be studied.
In this paper, the author proposes that the departure from this simple scaling with mass arises because of a simple fact: the natal molecular cloud must first fragment into clumps, which must in turn fragment into stars.