Different modes of star formation: Gravitational collapse of magnetically subcritical cloud

Masahiro N. Machida, Koki Higuchi, Satoshi Okuzumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Star formation in magnetically subcritical clouds is investigated using a three-dimensional non-ideal magnetohydrodynamic simulation. Since rapid cloud collapse is suppressed until the magnetic flux is sufficiently removed from the initially magnetically subcritical cloud by ambipolar diffusion, it takes ≳5-10 tff to form a protostar, where tff is the freefall time-scale of the initial cloud. The angular momentum of the star-forming cloud is efficiently transferred to the interstellar medium before the rapid collapse begins, and the collapsing cloud has a very low angular momentum. Unlike the magnetically supercritical case, no large-scale lowvelocity outflow appears in such a collapsing cloud due to the short lifetime of the first core. Following protostar formation, a very weak high-velocity jet, which has a small momentum and might disappear at a later time, is driven near the protostar, while the circumstellar disc does not grow during the early mass accretion phase. The results show that the star formation process in magnetically subcritical clouds is qualitatively different from that in magnetically supercritical clouds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3080-3094
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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