Magnetic field properties in molecular clouds and star formation: analysis methods and interpretation


Linearly polarized emission from dust grains and molecular spectroscopy is an effective probe of the magnetic field topology in the interstellar medium and molecular clouds. The longstanding Davis-Chandrasekhar-Fermi (DCF) method and the recently developed Histogram of Relative Orientations (HRO) analysis and the polarization-intensity gradient (KTH) method are widely used to assess the dynamic role of magnetic fields in star formation based on the plane-of-sky component of field orientations inferred from the observations. We review the advances and limitations of these methods and summarize their applications to observations. Numerical tests of the DCF method, including its various variants, indicate that its largest uncertainty may come from the assumption of energy equipartition, which should be further calibrated with simulations and observations. We suggest that the ordered and turbulent magnetic fields of particular observations are local properties of the considered region. An analysis of the polarization observations using DCF estimations suggests that magnetically trans-to-super-critical and averagely trans-to-super-Alfvenic clumps/cores form in sub-critical clouds. High-mass star-forming regions may be more gravity-dominant than their low-mass counterparts due to higher column density. The observational HRO studies clearly reveal that the preferential relative orientation between the magnetic field and density structures changes from parallel to perpendicular with increasing column densities, which, in conjunction with simulations, suggests that star formation is ongoing in trans-to-sub-Alfvenic clouds. There is a possible transition back from perpendicular to random alignment at higher column densities. Results from observational studies using the KTH method broadly agree with those of the HRO and DCF studies.

刘峻豪 (Junhao Liu), 东亚天文台(East Asian Observatory)
Zoom Meeting ID: 822 8287 7472 , Passcode: astroPKU , Link:
Tuesday, September 6, 2022 - 1:30PM to Tuesday, September 6, 2022 - 2:00PM