SCUBA polarization measurements of the magnetic field strengths in the L183, L1544, and L43 prestellar cores

Richard M. Crutcher, D. J. Nutter, D. Ward-Thompson, J. M. Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have mapped linearly polarized dust emission from L183 with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope SCUBA polarimeter and have analyzed these and our previously published data for the prestellar cores L183, L1544, and L43, in order to estimate magnetic field strengths in the plane of the sky, 5 pos. The analysis used the Chandrasekhar-Fermi technique, which relates the dispersion in polarization position angles to 5pos. We have used these estimates of the field strengths (neglecting the unmeasured line-of-sight component) to find the mass-to-magnetic flux ratios λ (in units of the critical ratio for magnetic support). Results are Bpos ≈ 80 μG and λ ≈ 2.6 for L183, Bpos ≈ 140 μG and λ ≈ 2.3 for L1544, and Bpos ≈ 160 μG and λ ≈ 1.9 for L43. Hence, without correction for geometrical biases, for all three cores the mass-to-flux ratios are supercritical by a factor of ∼2, and magnetic support cannot prevent collapse. However, a statistical mean correction for geometrical bias may be up to a factor of 3; this correction would reduce the individual λ's to λcor ≈ 0.9, 0.8, and 0.6, respectively; these values are approximately critical or slightly subcritical. These data are consistent with models of star formation driven by ambipolar diffusion in a weakly turbulent medium but cannot rule out models of star formation driven by turbulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-285
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


  • ISM: individual (L183, L1544, L43)
  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • Polarization
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'SCUBA polarization measurements of the magnetic field strengths in the L183, L1544, and L43 prestellar cores'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this