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The initial magnetic criticality of pre-stellar cores

Priestley, Felix D, Yin, Charles and Wurster, James 2022. The initial magnetic criticality of pre-stellar cores. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 515 (4) , pp. 5689-5697. 10.1093/mnras/stac2107

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Abstract

Direct observational measurements of the magnetic field strength in pre-stellar cores typically find supercritical mass-to-flux ratios, suggesting that the magnetic field is insufficient to prevent gravitational collapse. These measurements suffer from significant uncertainties; an alternative approach is to utilize the sensitivity of pre-stellar chemistry to the evolutionary history, and indirectly constrain the degree of magnetic support. We combine non-ideal magnetohydrodynamic simulations of pre-stellar cores with time-dependent chemistry and radiative transfer modelling, producing synthetic observations of the model cores in several commonly observed molecular lines. We find that molecules strongly affected by freeze-out, such as CS and HCN, typically have much lower line intensities in magnetically subcritical models compared to supercritical ones, due to the longer collapse time-scales. Subcritical models also produce much narrower lines for all species investigated. Accounting for a range of core properties, ages, and viewing angles, we find that supercritical models are unable to reproduce the distribution of CS and N2H+ line strengths and widths seen in an observational sample, whereas subcritical models are in good agreement with the available data. This suggests that despite presently having supercritical mass-to-flux ratios, pre-stellar cores form as magnetically subcritical objects.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0035-8711
Date of Acceptance: 22 July 2022
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 17:22
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/153033

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