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Title: THE DEPENDENCE OF STAR FORMATION EFFICIENCY ON GAS SURFACE DENSITY

Studies by Lada et al. and Heiderman et al. have suggested that star formation mostly occurs above a threshold in gas surface density {Sigma} of {Sigma}{sub c} {approx} 120 M{sub Sun} pc{sup -2} (A{sub K} {approx} 0.8). Heiderman et al. infer a threshold by combining low-mass star-forming regions, which show a steep increase in the star formation rate per unit area {Sigma}{sub SFR} with increasing {Sigma}, and massive cores forming luminous stars which show a linear relation. We argue that these observations do not require a particular density threshold. The steep dependence of {Sigma}{sub SFR}, approaching unity at protostellar core densities, is a natural result of the increasing importance of self-gravity at high densities along with the corresponding decrease in evolutionary timescales. The linear behavior of {Sigma}{sub SFR} versus {Sigma} in massive cores is consistent with probing dense gas in gravitational collapse, forming stars at a characteristic free-fall timescale given by the use of a particular molecular tracer. The low-mass and high-mass regions show different correlations between gas surface density and the area A spanned at that density, with A {approx} {Sigma}{sup -3} for low-mass regions and A {approx} {Sigma}{sup -1} for the massive cores; this difference, along with themore » use of differing techniques to measure gas surface density and star formation, suggests that connecting the low-mass regions with massive cores is problematic. We show that the approximately linear relationship between dense gas mass and stellar mass used by Lada et al. similarly does not demand a particular threshold for star formation and requires continuing formation of dense gas. Our results are consistent with molecular clouds forming by galactic hydrodynamic flows with subsequent gravitational collapse.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. University Observatory Munich, Scheinerstrasse 1, D-81679 Munich (Germany)
  2. Department of Astronomy, University of Michigan, 830 Dennison, 500 Church St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1042 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22140262
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 773; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; APPROXIMATIONS; CORRELATIONS; DENSITY; EFFICIENCY; GRAVITATIONAL COLLAPSE; MASS; PROBES; STARS