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Virial Theorem

Last semester, we derived the Virial theorem from essentially considering a series of particles which attract each other through gravitation. The result was that d2 I = 2K + Ω dt2

(1)

where the Virial I = r 2 dm, Ω is the gravitational potential energy and K is the total 2I kinetic energy. In the case of equilibrium where d = 0, we ﬁnd that: dt2 1 K=− Ω 2 (2)

which is very useful when considering stars in hydrostatic equilibrium. Unlike stars, for molecular clouds, there may be a signiﬁcant external pressure. The virial theorem can be modiﬁed to take into account external pressure. In molecular cloud studies, a common way of writing the virial theorem is: 1 d2 I =3 2 dt2

P dV +

V S

P r · dS + Ω

(3)

where 3 V P dV is the integral of pressure over the volume of the cloud and is equal to 2K , P r · dS is the integral of the external pressure over the surface of the cloud, and Ω once S again the gravitational potential energy. We deﬁne Ks =≡ replace:

1 2 S

P r · dS. If the external pressure is a constant value P0 , then we can

1 Ks = P 0 2 and we can write: 1 d2 I =3 2 dt2 or if we assume a constant pressure

3 r · d S = P0 V 2 S

(4)

(P − P0 )dV + Ω

V

(5)

1 d2 I = 3(P − P0 )Vcl + Ω 2 dt2

(6)

–2– 2. The Stability of a Cloud (or Clump)

**Following Spitzer (1978), let’s assume that a cloud is in equilibrium, i.e. d2 I/dt2 = 0. The we rewrite equation 5 so that: 3 P0 V = 3
**

V

P dV + Ω

(7)

**assuming a homogenous sphere with sound speed cs
**

3 4πP0 Rcl

=

3 c2 s Mcl

2 3 GMcl − 5 Rcl

(8)

where cs is the sound speed and the ideal gas law gives P = c2 s ρ. To examine the stability of the cloud to changes in external pressure, we solve the above equation for P0 and then take the derivative with R P0 = and 1 dP0 = dRcl 4π

2 9 c2 12 GMcl s Mcl + 4 5 Rcl 5 Rcl

1 4π

2 3 c2 3 GMcl s Mcl − 3 4 Rcl 5 Rcl

(9)

−

(10)

Now let’s consider what happens if we increase pressure. If the right side of the equation is negative, i.e. R > Rcrit = 4 GMcl 15 c2 s (11)

then the increase in pressure will cause the cloud to shrink, but the value of P0 required for equilibrium goes up as well. Eventually, the cloud comes into equilibrium, unless R ≤ Rcrit . At this point, dP0 /dRcl = 0 and P0 is at a maximum. Increasing P0 will imply that there is no stable equilibrium and the cloud will collapse. For a value of M = 104 M⊙ , TK = 20 K (and consequently cs = 0.25 km s−1 ), Rcrit ∼ 200 pc. This is larger than most clouds, molecular clouds cannot be supported by thermal pressure. We also note that α = |Ω/K | = 6, meaning that the cloud would be not in virial equilibrium.

–3– 3. The Eﬀect of the Magnetic Field

Magnetic ﬁelds may have a stabilizing eﬀect on clouds. Although the clouds are neutral, ionization by cosmic rays, and on the outer layers, UV radiation, may create a small number of electrons and ions. These would be coupled to the magnetic ﬁeld, and in fact, freeze the magnetic ﬁeld lines to the gas. Thus, the magnetic ﬁeld pressure could exert a pressure. 1 d2 I =3 2 dt2 where 1 MB = π 8 where B0 is the external ﬁeld. 1 MB = 8π 1 ¯2 3 1 φ2 (B )dV ≡ B Rcl = 2 6 6π R

2 2 (B 2 − B0 )dV

(P − P0 )dV + Ω + MB

V

(12)

(13)

(14)

¯ is the mean magnetic ﬁeld. where b is order unity and B φ= ¯ 2πrBdr ≡ πR2 B (15)

An important value is the ratio of Mcl /φ where the graviational potential energy is equal to the magentic energy term, Ω = −MB . For a uniform sphere, this occurs when:

2 3 GMcl 1 φ2 = 5 R 6R

(16)

**or when Mcl = φ 5 18
**

1/2

1 1 = 1 / 2 πG 2πG1/2

(17)

The ratio Mcl /φ is known as the mass to ﬂux ratio. If 1 Mcl > φ 2πG1/2 (18)

–4– then gravity dominates over magnetic ﬁelds and the cloud is supercritical. Note, that since φ is conserved, the ratio does not change as the cloud collapse. If the ratio is < 1, then the cloud is sub-critical. Note that since N (H 2 ) = implies that Mcl N (H 2 ) = φ B Measurements show that against collapse.

N (H2 ) B

Mcl φ , B= 2 2 πRcl πRcl

(19)

(20)

≤ 1, suggesting that magnetic ﬁelds do not support clouds

4.

Turbulent ”Pressure”

We now consider the addition of turbulent energy to the kinetic energy term. If we just consider the thermal motions of the gas, the kinetic energy is given by: 3 K = Mcl c2 s 2 where cs is the sound speed. Remember that the total 3-D velocity dispersion is

2 2 2 σ 2 = σx + σy + σz = 3 c2 s

(21)

(22)

We can then deﬁne a pressure term: 3 2 P = Mcl (c2 s + σturb ) 2 (23)

where σturb is the 1-D turbulent dispersion. We can take this from the measured linewidth 2 2 of the cloud, which is σtot = c2 s + σturb . 3 2 Ptot = Pth + Pturb = Mcl (σtot ) 2 Then the equation becomes: (24)

–5– For a value of M = 104 M⊙ , TK = 20 K (and consequently cs = 0.25 km s−1 ), Rcrit ∼ 12 pc. This is similar to the size of most molecular clouds. Plus we know that α = |Ω/K | is around 1, indicating that it is close to virial equilibrium.

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