Characteristic scale of star formation. I. Clump formation efficiency on local scales

30 Jun 2020  ·  D. J. Eden, T. J. T. Moore, R. Plume, A. J. Rigby, J. S. Urquhart, K. A. Marsh, C. H. Peñaloza, P. C. Clark, M. W. L. Smith, K. Tahani, S. E. Ragan, M. A. Thompson, D. Johnstone, H. Parsons, R. Rani ·

We have used the ratio of column densities derived independently from the 850-um continuum JCMT Plane Survey (JPS) and the $^{13}$CO/C$^{18}$O J=3-2 Heterodyne Inner Milky Way Plane Survey (CHIMPS) to produce maps of the dense-gas mass fraction (DGMF) in two slices of the Galactic Plane centred at l=30 and l=40. The observed DGMF is a metric for the instantaneous clump-formation efficiency (CFE) in the molecular gas and a two-dimensional power-spectrum analysis of the DGMF reveals a break in slope at the approximate size scale of molecular clouds... We interpret this as the characteristic scale of the amplitude of variations in the CFE and a constraint on the dominant mechanism regulating the CFE and, hence, the star-formation efficiency in CO-traced clouds. By splitting the two fields into velocity components corresponding to the spiral arms that cross them, we find that individual molecular clouds have mean CFE values of 40, 41, and 46 per cent for the Scutum--Centaurus, Sagittarius, and Perseus spiral arms, respectively read more

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Astrophysics of Galaxies