Protostar formation in magnetic molecular clouds beyond ion detachment. II. Typical axisymmetric solution

Konstantinos Tassis, Telemachos Ch Mouschovias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We follow the ambipolar-diffiision-driven formation and evolution of a fragment in a magnetically supported molecular cloud, until a hydrostatic protostellar core forms at its center. This problem was formulated in Paper I. We determine the density, velocity, and magnetic field as functions of space and time, and the contribution of ambipolar diffusion and Ohmic dissipation to the resolution of the magnetic flux problem of star formation. The issue of whether the magnetic field ever decouples from the (neutral ) matter is also addressed. We also find that the electrons do not decouple from the field lines before thermal ionization becomes important and recouples the magnetic field to the neutral matter. Ohmic dissipation becomes more effective than ambipolar diffusion as a flux reduction mechanism only at the highest densities (a few × 1012 cm-3). In the high-density central parts of the core, the magnetic field acquires an almost spatially uniform structure, with a value that, at the end ofthe calculation (nn ≈ 5 times; 1014 cm-3), is found to be in excellent agreement with meteoritic measurements of magnetic fields in the protosolar nebula. Outside the hydrostatic protostellar core, a concentration of magnetic flux (a "magnetic wall") forms, which gives rise to a magnetic shock. This magnetic shock is the precursor of the repeated shocks previously found by Tassis & Mouschovias, which cause spasmodic accretion onto the hydrostatic core at later times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-401
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - May 1 2007


  • Dust, extinction
  • ISM: clouds
  • MHD
  • Magnetic fields
  • Shock waves stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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