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The widths of magnetized filaments in molecular clouds

Priestley, F. D. and Whitworth, A. P. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1178-5486 2022. The widths of magnetized filaments in molecular clouds. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 512 (1) , 1407–1414. 10.1093/mnras/stac627

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Abstract

Filaments are an ubiquitous feature of molecular clouds, and appear to play a critical role in assembling the material to form stars. The dominant filaments are observed to have a rather narrow range of widths around ∼0.1pc⁠, and to be preferentially aligned perpendicularly to the direction of the local magnetic field. We have previously argued that the observed filament widths can be explained if filaments are formed by converging, mildly supersonic flows, resulting from large-scale turbulent motions in the parent molecular cloud. Here we demonstrate that the introduction of a magnetic field perpendicular to the filament long axis does not greatly alter this conclusion, as long as the mass-to-flux ratio is supercritical. The distribution of widths for supercritical magnetized filaments formed via this mechanism is peaked at slightly higher values, and is slightly broader, than for non-magnetized filaments, but still reproduces the basic properties of the width distributions derived from far-infrared observations of molecular clouds. In contrast, subcritical filaments have width distributions with a fundamentally different shape, and typically have much larger widths than those observed. Both subcritical and supercritical filaments are consistent with the observed lack of correlation between filament widths and filament surface densities.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: Royal Astronomical Society
ISSN: 0035-8711
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 May 2022
Date of Acceptance: 4 March 2022
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 11:14
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/149724

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