Magnetic Fields in Molecular Clouds: Regulators of Star Formation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Observations of magnetic fields in the molecular cloud Barnard 1 are compared with theoretical predictions, and the key elements of a scenario for star formation in magnetic clouds are summarized. New quantitative results are presented which necessitate qualitative changes in current ideas concerning star formation in molecular clouds and, more specifically, in the notion that stellar masses are determined via the onset of energetic stellar winds that reverse the infall of the envelopes. The role of ambipolar diffusion in star formation is assessed, and new expressions for the ambipolar diffusion time scale in cloud cores, including the effect of thermal pressure, for both quasi-static and dynamical contraction of cloud cores are obtained and used for studying the reduction of the flux-to-mass ratio by ambipolar diffusion.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Physics and Chemistry of Interstellar Molecular Clouds mm and Sub-mm Observations in Astrophysics
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of a Symposium Held at Zermatt, Switzerland, 22-25 September 1988 to Commemorate the 600th Anniversary of the University of Cologne and the 20th Anniversary of the Gornergrat Observatory
EditorsG Winnewisser, J T Armstrong
StatePublished - Jan 1989

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Physics
ISSN (Print)0075-8450
ISSN (Electronic)1616-6361


  • Gravitational Collapse
  • Interstellar Magnetic Fields
  • Interstellar Matter
  • Molecular Clouds
  • Star Formation
  • Ambipolar Diffusion
  • Angular Momentum
  • Stellar Mass
  • Stellar Winds
  • Astrophysics


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