Gauging the Turbulent Mach Numbers in Optically Thick Clouds

Type Conference Paper
Names B. Burkhart, A. Lazarian, V. Ossenkopf, J. Stutzki
Conference Name Numerical Modeling of Space Plasma Slows (ASTRONUM 2011)
Volume 459
Pages 9
Date July 1, 2012
URL http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012ASPC..459....9B
Library Catalog NASA ADS
Abstract Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) Turbulence is a critical component of the current paradigms of star formation, particle transport, magnetic reconnection and evolution of the ISM. Progress on this difficult subject is made via theoretical predictions, numerical simulations and observational studies. For star forming molecular clouds in particular, turbulence plays a role in supporting clouds from gravitational collapse and dense filamentary structures created by shocks via supersonic turbulence could act as a catalyst for stellar birth. However, diagnosing turbulence in these dense molecular regions is not straightforward, with additional complications including varying optical depth effects and thermal excitation. We study the probability distribution functions (PDFs) of simulations of MHD turbulence with radiative transfer effects included (specifically looking at the 13CO 2-1 transition) in order to gauge whether the sonic Mach number can be determined in optically thick turbulent environments. From the simulations, we create synthetic integrated intensity maps with different sonic Mach numbers and vary optical depth and thermal excitation by changing the average density(ρ) and molecular abundance (X/H2). We show that PDF descriptors such as the moments and the Tsallis distribution are sensitive to the changes in optical depth as well as the sonic Mach number in 13CO 2-1 integrated intensity maps. This opens up avenues for studying the relationship between the compressibility of GMC clouds and star formation using simple statistical methods.
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