Solitary waves in self-gravitating molecular clouds
Sterrenkundig Observatorium, Universiteit Gent, Krijgslaan 281, 9000 Gent, Belgium e-mail: Frank.Verheest@UGent.be
2 School of Physics (Howard College Campus), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4041, South Africa
Accepted: 8 April 2005
Molecular clouds are self-gravitating fluids that support different waves and contain highly nonlinear clumps and filaments, for which explanations have been sought in terms of solitons. The present paper explores the possibility that several (neutral) species with different thermal speeds coexist, as in a molecular cloud consisting of gas and dust, or of a mixture of normal matter and dark matter. It is shown that this model can support soliton formation, both with humps or dips in the self-gravitational potential. The existence domain has been given in terms of the hot species Mach number and fractional mass density, in a gas-dynamic description which emphasizes the constraints coming from the sonic and neutral points, and from the limits due to infinite compression or total rarefaction. One species is compressed while the other is rarefied, allowing the system to reach a mass neutral point outside equilibrium. In this way, solitons are possible without invoking interaction with a weakly ionized cloud component or involving envelope solitons that are not really stationary structures.
Key words: gravitation / hydrodynamics / ISM: clouds / waves
© ESO, 2005