The Formation of Small Scale Structure in Magnetized Molecular Clouds

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Session 40 -- Computational Astrophysics I
Display presentation, Wednesday, 1, 1994, 9:20-6:30

[40.16] The Formation of Small Scale Structure in Magnetized Molecular Clouds

James M. Stone (University of Maryland), Charles F. Gammie (University of Virginia)

Much of the observed internal structure in molecular clouds is attributed to gravity-driven condensations, and to the presence of linear and nonlinear modes of MHD waves within the cloud. Using a fully 3D MHD code which incorporates the effect of self-gravity and uses an isothermal equation of state, we have studied the formation of such structure from uniform initial conditions. Periodic boundary conditions are used in each dimension, thus the simulations are local in that only the formation of small scale structures can be followed. Initially, the computational domain contains many Jeans lengths, the gas is given small amplitude random perturbations, and the subsequent evolution is followed until dense cores are formed. The shape, size, and mass distribution of the cores can be extracted from the simulations, in addition synthetic radio maps and linewidths can be constructed, all of which can be compared directly with observations. In order to compute simulations with sufficient dynamic range to produce meaningful results, we have utilized massively parallel supercomputers with the support of the NASA High Performance Computing and Communciations Initiative. We present the results of a number of simulations in which the numerical resolution and initial magnetic field strength is varied.

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