Evolution of prolate molecular clouds at H II boundaries - II. Formation of BRCs of asymmetrical morphology

Kinnear, T. M.; Miao, J.; White, G. J.; Sugitani, K. and Goodwin, S. (2015). Evolution of prolate molecular clouds at H II boundaries - II. Formation of BRCs of asymmetrical morphology. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 450(1) pp. 1017–1031.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stv637


A systematic investigation on the evolution of a prolate cloud at an H II boundary is conducted using smoothed particle hydrodynamics in order to understand the mechanism for a variety of irregular morphological structures found at the boundaries of various H II regions. The prolate molecular clouds in this investigation are set with their semimajor axes at inclinations between 0° and 90° to a plane-parallel ionizing radiation flux. A set of four parameters, the number density n, the ratio of major to minor axis γ, the inclination angle Φ and the incident flux FEUV, are used to define the initial state of the simulated clouds. The dependence of the evolution of a prolate cloud under radiation-driven implosion (RDI) on each of the four parameters is investigated. It is found that (i) in addition to the well-studied standard type A, B or C bright-rimmed clouds (BRCs), many other types such as asymmetrical BRCs, filamentary structures and irregular horse-head structures could also be developed at H II boundaries with only simple initial conditions; (ii) the final morphological structures are very sensitive to the four initial parameters, especially to the initial density and the inclination; (iii) the previously defined ionizing radiation penetration depth can still be used as a good indicator of the final morphology. Based on the simulation results, the formation time-scales and masses of the early RDI-triggered star formation from clouds of different initial conditions are also estimated. Finally a unified mechanism for the various morphological structures found in many different H II boundaries is suggested.

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