NUMERICAL SIMULATIONS of TURBULENT MOLECULAR CLOUDS REGULATED by RADIATION FEEDBACK FORCES. I. STAR FORMATION RATE and EFFICIENCY

Sudhir Raskutti, Eve C. Ostriker, M. Aaron Skinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Radiation feedback from stellar clusters is expected to play a key role in setting the rate and efficiency of star formation in giant molecular clouds. To investigate how radiation forces influence realistic turbulent systems, we have conducted a series of numerical simulations employing the Hyperion radiation hydrodynamics solver, considering the regime that is optically thick to ultraviolet and optically thin to infrared radiation. Our model clouds cover initial surface densities between , with varying initial turbulence. We follow them through turbulent, self-gravitating collapse, star cluster formation, and cloud dispersal by stellar radiation. All our models display a log-normal distribution of gas surface density Σ; for an initial virial parameter , the log-normal standard deviation is and the star formation rate coefficient , both of which are sensitive to turbulence but not radiation feedback. The net star formation efficiency (SFE) increases with and decreases with . We interpret these results via a simple conceptual framework, whereby steady star formation increases the radiation force, such that local gas patches at successively higher Σ become unbound. Based on this formalism (with fixed ), we provide an analytic upper bound on , which is in good agreement with our numerical results. The final SFE depends on the distribution of Eddington ratios in the cloud and is strongly increased by the turbulent compression of gas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number130
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume829
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • ISM: clouds
  • hydrodynamics
  • methods: numerical
  • radiative transfer
  • stars: formation

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