Droplets I: Pressure-Dominated Coherent Structures in L1688 and B18

GAS Collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the observation and analysis of newly discovered coherent structures in the L1688 region of Ophiuchus and the B18 region of Taurus. Using data from the Green Bank Ammonia Survey (GAS; Friesen et al. 2017), we identify regions of high density and near-constant, almost-thermal, velocity dispersion. Eighteen coherent structures are revealed, twelve in L1688 and six in B18, each of which shows a sharp “transition to coherence” in velocity dispersion around its periphery. The identification of these structures provides a chance to study the coherent structures in molecular clouds statistically. The identified coherent structures have a typical radius of 0.04 pc and a typical mass of 0.4 M, generally smaller than previously known coherent cores identified by Goodman et al. (1998), Caselli et al. (2002), and Pineda et al. (2010). We call these structures “droplets.” We find that unlike previously known coherent cores, these structures are not virially bound by self-gravity and are instead predominantly confined by ambient pressure. The droplets have density profiles shallower than a critical Bonnor-Ebert sphere, and they have a velocity (VLSR) distribution consistent with the dense gas motions traced by NH3 emission. These results point to a potential formation mechanism through pressure compression and turbulent processes in the dense gas. We present a comparison with a magnetohydrodynamic simulation of a star-forming region, and we speculate on the relationship of droplets with larger, gravitationally bound coherent cores, as well as on the role that droplets and other coherent structures play in the star formation process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Sep 26 2018


  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: individual (L1688, B18)
  • ISM: kinematics and dynamics
  • ISM: structure
  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • Radio lines: ISM
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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