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Why do starless cores appear more flattened than protostellar cores?

Goodwin, S.P., Ward-Thompson, Derek and Whitworth, Anthony Peter 2002. Why do starless cores appear more flattened than protostellar cores? Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 330 (4) , pp. 769-771. 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2002.05166.x

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We evaluate the intrinsic three-dimensional shapes of molecular cores, by analysing their projected shapes. We use the recent catalogue of molecular line observations of Jijina et al. and model the data by the method originally devised for elliptical galaxies. Our analysis broadly supports the conclusion of Jones et al. that molecular cores are better represented by triaxial intrinsic shapes (ellipsoids) than biaxial intrinsic shapes (spheroids). However, we find that the best fit to all of the data is obtained with more extreme axial ratios (1:0.8:0.4) than those derived by Jones et al. More surprisingly, we find that starless cores have more extreme axial ratios than protostellar cores — starless cores appear more ‘flattened’. This is the opposite of what would be expected from modelling the freefall collapse of triaxial ellipsoids. The collapse of starless cores would be expected to proceed most swiftly along the shortest axis — as has been predicted by every modeller since Zel'dovich — which should produce more flattened cores around protostars, the opposite of what is seen.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Uncontrolled Keywords: stars:formation
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0035-8711
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 05:02

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