The effect of magnetic fields on star cluster formation
Price, Daniel J.
Bate, Matthew R.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Oxford University Press / Royal Astronomical Society
We examine the effect of magnetic fields on star cluster formation by performing simulations following the self-gravitating collapse of a turbulent molecular cloud to form stars in ideal magnetohydrodynamics. The collapse of the cloud is computed for global mass-to-flux ratios of ∞, 20, 10, 5 and 3, i.e. using both weak and strong magnetic fields. Whilst even at very low strengths the magnetic field is able to significantly influence the star formation process, for magnetic fields with plasma β < 1 the results are substantially different to the hydrodynamic case. In these cases we find large-scale magnetically supported voids imprinted in the cloud structure; anisotropic turbulent motions and column density striations aligned with the magnetic field lines, both of which have recently been observed in the Taurus molecular cloud. We also find strongly suppressed accretion in the magnetized runs, leading to up to a 75 per cent reduction in the amount of mass converted into stars over the course of the calculations and a more quiescent mode of star formation. There is also some indication that the relative formation efficiency of brown dwarfs is lower in the strongly magnetized runs due to a reduction in the importance of protostellar ejections.
Copyright © 2008 Royal Astronomical Society
Vol. 385 (4), pp. 1820 - 1834