Molecular line profiles as diagnostics of protostellar collapse: modelling the ‘blue asymmetry’ in inside-out infall

Tsamis, Y. G.; Rawlings, J. M. C.; Yates, J. A. and Viti, S. (2008). Molecular line profiles as diagnostics of protostellar collapse: modelling the ‘blue asymmetry’ in inside-out infall. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 388(2) pp. 898–912.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13464.x

Abstract

The evolution of star-forming core analogues undergoing inside-out collapse is studied with a multipoint chemodynamical model which self-consistently computes the abundance distribution of chemical species in the core. For several collapse periods the output chemistry of infalling tracer species such as HCO+, CS and N2H+ is then coupled to an accelerated Λ-iteration radiative transfer code, which predicts the emerging molecular line profiles using two different input gas/dust temperature distributions. We investigate the sensitivity of the predicted spectral line profiles and line asymmetry ratios to the core temperature distribution, the time-dependent model chemistry, as well as to ad hoc abundance distributions. The line asymmetry is found to be strongly dependent on the adopted chemical abundance distribution. In general, models with a warm central region show higher values of blue asymmetry in optically thick HCO+ and CS lines than models with a starless core temperature profile. We find that in the formal context of Shu-type inside-out infall, and in the absence of rotation or outflows, the relative blue asymmetry of certain HCO+ and CS transitions is a function of time and, subject to the foregoing caveats, can act as a collapse chronometer. The sensitivity of simulated HCO+ line profiles to linear radial variations, subsonic or supersonic, of the internal turbulence field is investigated in the separate case of static cores.

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