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Star formation triggered by non-head-on cloud-cloud collisions, and clouds with pre-collision sub-structure

Balfour, Scott, Whitworth, Anthony ORCID: and Hubber, D. A. 2017. Star formation triggered by non-head-on cloud-cloud collisions, and clouds with pre-collision sub-structure. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 465 (3) , pp. 3483-3494. 10.1093/mnras/stw2956

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In an earlier paper, we used smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) simulations to explore star formation triggered by head-on collisions between uniform-density 500 M clouds, and showed that there is a critical collision velocity, vCRIT. At collision velocities below vCRIT, a hub-and-spoke mode operates and delivers a monolithic cluster with a broad mass function, including massive stars (M 10 M) formed by competitive accretion. At collision velocities above vCRIT, a spider’s-web mode operates and delivers a loose distribution of small sub-clusters with a relatively narrow mass function and no massive stars. Here we show that,if the head-on assumption is relaxed, vCRIT is reduced. However, if the uniform-density assumption is also relaxed, the collision velocity becomes somewhat less critical: a low collision velocity is still needed to produce a global hub-and-spoke system and a monolithic cluster, but, even at high velocities, large cores – capable of supporting competitive accretion and thereby producing massive stars – can be produced. We conclude that cloud–cloud collisions may be a viable mechanism for forming massive stars – and we show that this might even be the major channel for forming massive stars in the Galaxy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Advanced Research Computing @ Cardiff (ARCCA)
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0035-8711
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 September 2017
Date of Acceptance: 14 November 2016
Last Modified: 07 May 2023 11:07

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