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Magnetic Fields in High-mass Infrared Dark Clouds

Pillai, T. and Kauffmann, J. and Tan, J. C. and Goldsmith, P. F. and Carey, S. J. and Menten, K. M. (2015) Magnetic Fields in High-mass Infrared Dark Clouds. Astrophysical Journal, 799 (1). Art. No. 74. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/799/1/74.

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High-mass stars are cosmic engines known to dominate the energetics in the Milky Way and other galaxies. However, their formation is still not well understood. Massive, cold, dense clouds, often appearing as infrared dark clouds (IRDCs), are the nurseries of massive stars. No measurements of magnetic fields in IRDCs in a state prior to the onset of high-mass star formation (HMSF) have previously been available, and prevailing HMSF theories do not consider strong magnetic fields. Here, we report observations of magnetic fields in two of the most massive IRDCs in the Milky Way. We show that IRDCs G11.11−0.12 and G0.253+0.016 are strongly magnetized and that the strong magnetic field is as important as turbulence and gravity for HMSF. The main dense filament in G11.11−0.12 is perpendicular to the magnetic field, while the lower density filament merging onto the main filament is parallel to the magnetic field. The implied magnetic field is strong enough to suppress fragmentation sufficiently to allow HMSF. Other mechanisms reducing fragmentation, such as the entrapment of heating from young stars via high-mass surface densities, are not required to facilitate HMSF.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Goldsmith, P. F.0000-0002-6622-8396
Carey, S. J.0000-0002-0221-6871
Menten, K. M.0000-0001-6459-0669
Additional Information:© 2015 The American Astronomical Society. Received 23 August 2014; accepted for publication 27 October 2014; Published 16 January 2015. We thank P. Redman for his data on G11.11−0.12 and his discussion on the observations. We thank Brenda Matthews for kindly checking the quality of the re-processed SCUPOL data for this source. We thank the referee for a very constructive review of the manuscript that improved the quality of the manuscript. This work was carried out in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is operated for NASA by the California Institute of Technology. T.P. and J.K. acknowledge support by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) through grant PIRSES-GA-2012-31578 "EuroCal". T.P. acknowledges support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) via the SPP (priority program) 1573 'Physics of the ISM'. Facilities: JCMT (SCUBA, SCUPOL), CSO (Hertz, Bolocam), Spitzer (GLIMPSE)
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Research Council (ERC)PIRSES-GA-2012-31578
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:ISM: clouds; ISM: magnetic fields; polarization; stars: formation
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150227-092844287
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Official Citation:Magnetic Fields in High-mass Infrared Dark Clouds T. Pillai et al. 2015 ApJ 799 74
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:55327
Deposited On:27 Feb 2015 19:53
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 20:44

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