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Star formation in unbound giant molecular clouds: the origin of OB associations?

Clark, Paul ORCID:, Bonnell, Ian A., Zinnecker, Hans and Bate, Matthew R. 2005. Star formation in unbound giant molecular clouds: the origin of OB associations? Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 359 (3) , pp. 809-818. 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2005.08942.x

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We investigate the formation of star clusters in an unbound giant molecular cloud, where the supporting kinetic energy is twice as large as the cloud's self-gravity. This cloud manages to form a series of star clusters and disperse, all within roughly two crossing times (10 Myr), supporting recent claims that star formation is a rapid process. Simple assumptions about the nature of the star formation occurring in the clusters allows us to place an estimate for the star formation efficiency at about 5–10 per cent, consistent with observations. We also propose that unbound clouds can act as a mechanism for forming OB associations. The clusters that form in the cloud behave as OB subgroups. These clusters are naturally expanding from one another due to the unbound nature of the flows that create them. The properties of the cloud we present here are consistent with those of classic OB associations.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Uncontrolled Keywords: turbulence; stars: formation; stars: general; stars: luminosity function, mass function; ISM: clouds
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0035-8711
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 09:45

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