Gravity, Magnetic Field, and Turbulence: Relative Importance and Impact on Fragmentation in the Infrared Dark Cloud G34.43+00.24

Ya Wen Tang, Patrick M. Koch, Nicolas Peretto, Giles Novak, Ana Duarte-Cabral, Nicholas L. Chapman, Pei Ying Hsieh, Hsi Wei Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We investigate the interplay between magnetic (B) field, gravity, and turbulence in the fragmentation process of cores within the filamentary infrared dark cloud G34.43+00.24. We observe the magnetic field morphology across G34.43, traced with thermal dust polarization at 350 μm with an angular resolution of 10″ (0.18 pc), and compare with the kinematics obtained from N2H+ across the filament. We derive local velocity gradients from N2H+, tracing motion in the plane of sky, and compare with the observed local B field orientations in the plane of sky. The B field orientations are found to be perpendicular to the long axis of the filament toward the MM1 and MM2 ridge, suggesting that the B field can guide material toward the filament. Toward MM3, the B field orientations appear more parallel to the filament and aligned with the elongated core of MM3, indicating a different role of the B field. In addition to a large-scale east-west velocity gradient, we find a close alignment between local B field orientations and local velocity gradients toward the MM1/MM2 ridge. This local correlation in alignment suggests that gas motions are influenced by the B field morphology or vice versa. Additionally, this alignment seems to become even closer with increasing integrated emission in N2H+, possibly indicating that a growing gravitational pull alignes the B field and gas motion more and more. We analyze and quantify B field, gravity, turbulence, and their relative importance toward the MM1, MM2, and MM3 regions with various techniques over two scales, a larger clump area at 2 pc scale and the smaller core area at 0.6 pc scale. While gravitational energy, B field, and turbulent pressure all grow systematically from large to small scale, the ratios among the three constituents clearly develop differently over scale. We propose that this varying relative importance between B field, gravity, and turbulence over scale drives and explains the different fragmentation types seen at subparsec scale (no fragmentation in MM1; aligned fragmentation in MM2; clustered fragmentation in MM3). We discuss uncertainties, subtleties, and the robustness of our conclusion, and we stress that a multiscale joint analysis is required to understand the dynamics in these systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 10 2019


  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: individual objects (G34.43+00.24)
  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • polarization
  • stars: formation
  • stars: protostars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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