Gravity and Rotation Drag the Magnetic Field in High-mass Star Formation
Journal article, 2020

The formation of hot stars out of the cold interstellar medium lies at the heart of astrophysical research. Understanding the importance of magnetic fields during star formation remains a major challenge. With the advent of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, the potential to study magnetic fields by polarization observations has tremendously progressed. However, the major question remains how much magnetic fields shape the star formation process or whether gravity is largely dominating. Here, we show that for the high-mass star-forming region G327.3 the magnetic field morphology appears to be dominantly shaped by the gravitational contraction of the central massive gas core where the star formation proceeds. We find that in the outer parts of the region, the magnetic field is directed toward the gravitational center of the region. Filamentary structures feeding the central core exhibit U-shaped magnetic field morphologies directed toward the gravitational center as well, again showing the gravitational drag toward the center. The inner part then shows rotational signatures, potentially associated with an embedded disk, and there the magnetic field morphology appears to be rotationally dominated. Hence, our results demonstrate that for this region gravity and rotation are dominating the dynamics and shaping the magnetic field morphology.

Interstellar magnetic fields

Interstellar medium

Collapsing clouds

Dynamical evolution

Star formation

Interstellar dynamics


Henrik Beuther

Max Planck Society

Juan D. Soler

Max Planck Society

Hendrik Linz

Max Planck Society

Thomas Henning

Max Planck Society

Caroline Gieser

Max Planck Society

Rolf Kuiper

University of Tübingen

Wouter Vlemmings

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Astronomy and Plasmaphysics

Patrick Hennebelle

Paris Diderot University

Siyi Feng

National Astronomical Observatory China

Rowan Smith

University of Manchester

Aida Ahmadi

Leiden University

Astrophysical Journal

0004-637X (ISSN) 1538-4357 (eISSN)

Vol. 904 2 168

Subject Categories

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology

Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics



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