Anchoring Magnetic Fields in Turbulent Molecular Clouds

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Anchoring Magnetic Fields in Turbulent Molecular Clouds

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Title: Anchoring Magnetic Fields in Turbulent Molecular Clouds
Author: Li, Hua-bai; Dowell, C. Darren; Goodman, Alyssa A.; Hildebrand, Roger; Novak, Giles

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Citation: Li, Hua-bai, C. Darren Dowell, Alyssa A. Goodman, Roger Hildebrand, and Giles Novak. 2009. Anchoring magnetic fields in turbulent molecular clouds. Astrophysical Journal 704(2): 891-897.
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Abstract: One of the key problems in star formation research is to determine the role of magnetic fields. Starting from the atomic intercloud medium which has density \(n_H \sim \ 1 \ cm^{–3}\), gas must accumulate from a volume several hundred pc across in order to form a typical molecular cloud. Star formation usually occurs in cloud cores, which have linear sizes below 1 pc and densities \(n_{H2} > 10^5 \ cm^{–3}\). With current technologies, it is hard to probe magnetic fields at scales lying between the accumulation length and the size of cloud cores, a range corresponds to many levels of turbulent eddy cascade, and many orders of magnitude of density amplification. For field directions detected from the two extremes, however, we show here that a significant correlation is found. Comparing this result with molecular cloud simulations, only the sub-Alfvénic cases result in field orientations consistent with our observations.
Published Version: doi:10.1088/0004-637X/704/2/891
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at
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