Vol 22, No 7

Can Turbulent, High-density Gas Form Stars in Molecular Clouds: A Case Study in Ophiuchus

Sihan Jiao, Jingwen Wu, Hao Ruan, Yuxin Lin, Chao-Wei Tsai and Linjing Feng


Star formation is governed by the interplay between gravity and turbulence in most of molecular clouds. Recent theoretical works assume that dense gas, whose column density is above a critical value in the column density probability distribution function (N-PDF), where gravity starts to overcome turbulence, becomes star-forming gas and will collapse to form stars. However, these high-density gases will include some very turbulent areas in the clouds. Will these dense but turbulent gases also form stars? We test this scenario in Ophiuchus molecular cloud using N-PDF analysis and find that at least in some regions, the turbulent, dense gas is not forming stars. We identified two isolated high-density structures in Ophiuchus, which are gravitationally unbound and show no sign of star formation. Their high densities may come from turbulence.


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