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The preferential formation of high-mass stars in shocked interstellar gas layers

Whitworth, Anthony Peter, Bhattal, A. S., Chapman, S. J., Disney, Michael and Turner, J. A. 1994. The preferential formation of high-mass stars in shocked interstellar gas layers. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 268 (1) , pp. 291-298. 10.1093/mnras/268.1.291

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Gravitationally unstable, shocked layers of interstellar gas are produced by cloud-cloud collisions and by expanding nebulae around massive stars. We show that the resulting fragments are likely to be of high mass, and initially well separated (i.e. weakly bound to one another, if at all). This result may explain why dynamically active regions tend to have a high efficiency of massive star formation, and why they tend to relax quickly into a self-propagating mode which generates sequences of OB subgroups. These tendencies are manifested on many scales, from local star-forming regions like Orion, through regions like 30 Doradus in the LMC, to the most IR-luminous starburst galaxies. We also show that, for a wide range of input parameters, gravitational fragmentation of a shocked layer occurs when the column density of hydrogen nuclei through the accumulating layer reaches a value. This may be one reason for the mass-radius relation for molecular cloud clumps first noted by Larson.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0035-8711
Date of Acceptance: January 1994
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2019 23:05

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