The Power Spectrum of Supersonic Turbulence in Perseus

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.73). 11/2006; DOI: 10.1086/510620
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We test a method of estimating the power spectrum of turbulence in molecular clouds based on the comparison of power spectra of integrated intensity maps and single-velocity-channel maps, suggested by Lazarian and Pogosyan. We use synthetic 13CO data from non-LTE radiative transfer calculations based on density and velocity fields of a simulation of supersonic hydrodynamic turbulence. We find that the method yields the correct power spectrum with good accuracy. We then apply the method to the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory 13CO map of the Perseus region, from the COMPLETE website. We find a power law power spectrum with slope beta=1.81+-0.10. The values of beta as a function of velocity resolution are also confirmed using the lower resolution map of the same region obtained with the AT&T Bell Laboratories antenna. Because of its small uncertainty, this result provides a useful constraint for numerical codes used to simulate molecular cloud turbulence. Comment: 4 pages, 3 figures. ApJ Letters, in press

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Astrophysical fluids have very large Reynolds numbers and therefore turbulence is their natural state. Magnetic reconnection is an important process in many astrophysical plasmas, which allows restructuring of magnetic fields and conversion of stored magnetic energy into heat and kinetic energy. Turbulence is known to dramatically change different transport processes and therefore it is not unexpected that turbulence can alter the dynamics of magnetic field lines within the reconnection process. We shall review the interaction between turbulence and reconnection at different scales, showing how a state of turbulent reconnection is natural in astrophysical plasmas, with implications for a range of phenomena across astrophysics. We consider the process of magnetic reconnection that is fast in magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) limit and discuss how turbulence—both externally driven and generated in the reconnecting system—can make reconnection independent on the microphysical properties of plasmas. We will also show how relaxation theory can be used to calculate the energy dissipated in turbulent reconnecting fields. As well as heating the plasma, the energy dissipated by turbulent reconnection may cause acceleration of non-thermal particles, which is briefly discussed here.
    Space Science Reviews 10/2013; 178(2-4):325-355. · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Astrophysical fluids are turbulent a fact which changes the dynamics of many key processes, including magnetic reconnection. Fast reconnection of magnetic field in turbulent fluids allows the field to change its topology and connections. As a result, the traditional concept of magnetic fields being frozen into the plasma is no longer applicable. Plasma associated with a given magnetic field line at one instant is distributed along a different set of magnetic field lines at the next instant. This diffusion of plasmas and magnetic field is enabled by reconnection and therefore is termed "reconnection diffusion". The astrophysical implications of this concept include heat transfer in plasmas, advection of heavy elements in interstellar medium, magnetic field generation etc. However, the most dramatic implications of the concept are related to the star formation process. The reason is that magnetic fields are dynamically important for most of the stages of star formation. The existing theory of star formation has been developed ignoring the possibility of reconnection diffusion. Instead, it appeals to the decoupling of mass and magnetic field arising from neutrals drifting in respect to ions entrained on magnetic field lines, i.e. through the process that is termed "ambipolar diffusion". The predictions of ambipolar diffusion and reconnection diffusion are very different. For instance, if the ionization of media is high, ambipolar diffusion predicts that the coupling of mass and magnetic field is nearly perfect. At the same time, reconnection diffusion is independent of the ionization but depends on the scale of the turbulent eddies and on the turbulent velocities. In the paper we explain the physics of reconnection diffusion both from macroscopic and microscopic points of view, i.e. appealing to the reconnection of flux tubes and to the diffusion of magnetic field lines. We make use of the Lazarian and Vishniac (Astrophys. J. 517:700, 1999) theory of magnetic reconnection and show that this theory is applicable to the partially ionized gas. We quantify the reconnection diffusion rate both for weak and strong MHD turbulence and address the problem of reconnection diffusion acting together with ambipolar diffusion. In addition, we provide a criterion for correctly representing the magnetic diffusivity in simulations of star formation. We discuss the intimate relation between the processes of reconnection diffusion, field wandering and turbulent mixing of a magnetized media and show that the role of the plasma effects is limited to "breaking up lines" on small scales and does not affect the rate of reconnection diffusion. We address the existing observational results and demonstrate how reconnection diffusion can explain the puzzles presented by observations, in particular, the observed higher magnetization of cloud cores in comparison with the magnetization of envelopes. We also outline a possible set of observational tests of the reconnection diffusion concept and discuss how the application of the new concept changes our understanding of star formation and its numerical modeling. Finally, we outline the differences of the process of reconnection diffusion and the process of accumulation of matter along magnetic field lines that is frequently invoked to explain the results of numerical simulations.
    Space Science Reviews 12/2013; · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We review recent advances in the analytical and numerical modeling of the star formation rate in molecular clouds and discuss the available observational constraints. We focus on molecular clouds as the fundamental star formation sites, rather than on the larger-scale processes that form the clouds and set their properties. Molecular clouds are shaped into a complex filamentary structure by supersonic turbulence, with only a small fraction of the cloud mass channeled into collapsing protostars over a free-fall time of the system. In recent years, the physics of supersonic turbulence has been widely explored with computer simulations, leading to statistical models of this fragmentation process, and to the prediction of the star formation rate as a function of fundamental physical parameters of molecular clouds, such as the virial parameter, the rms Mach number, the compressive fraction of the turbulence driver, and the ratio of gas to magnetic pressure. Infrared space telescopes, as well as ground-based observatories have provided unprecedented probes of the filamentary structure of molecular clouds and the location of forming stars within them.


Available from