Observational identification of first cores: Non-LTE radiative transfer simulation

Kohji Tomisaka, Kengo Tomida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A first core is a first hydrostatic object formed in the course of dynamical contraction of a molecular cloud core. Since the inflow pattern changes drastically both before and after first core formation, it is regarded as a milestone in the star-formation process. In order to identify the first core from a mapping observation, the features expected for the first core are studied for CS rotation transitions at radio wavelengths. The non-LTE (local thermodynamical equilibrium) radiation transfer is calculated for the results of radiation magnetohydrodynamical simulations of the contraction of the magnetized molecular cloud core in rotation (Tomida et al. 2010b, ApJ, 714, L58). We used the Monte-Carlo method to solve the non-LTE radiation transfer in a nested grid hierarchy. In the first core phase, an outflowarises from the vicinity of the first core due to a twisted magnetic field amplified by rotation of the contracting gas disk. The disk and outflow system has several characteristic observational features: (i) relatively opaque lines indicate asymmetry in the emission lines in which the blue side is stronger than the red side (an infall signature of the envelope); (ii) in the edge-on view, the disk has a signature of simultaneous rotation and infall, i.e., the integrated intensity of the approaching side is brighter than that of the receding side and the gradient in the intensity-weighted velocity is larger in the approaching side; (iii) the observed outflow indicates rotation around the rotation axis. The size of the outflow gives the approximate age after the first core is formed, since the outflow is not expected for the earlier runaway isothermal collapse phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1151-1164
Number of pages14
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Japan
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Oct 25
Externally publishedYes


  • ISM: Jets and outflows
  • ISM: Lines and bands
  • Methods: Numerical
  • Radiation transfer
  • Stars: Formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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