On the structure of the turbulent interstellar clouds
Influence of the equation of state on the dynamics of 3D compressible flows
Laboratoire AIM, CEA/DSM-CNRS, université Paris Diderot, IRFU/SAp,
91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
2 Laboratoire de radioastronomie, UMR 8112 du CNRS, École normale supérieure et Observatoire de Paris, 24 rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
Accepted: 6 November 2009
Context. It is well established that the atomic interstellar hydrogen is filling the galaxies and constitutes the building blocks of molecular clouds.
Aims. To understand the formation and the evolution of molecular clouds, it is necessary to investigate the dynamics of turbulent and thermally bistable as well as barotropic flows.
Methods. We perform high resolution 3-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations of 2-phase, isothermal and polytropic flows.
Results. We compare the density probability distribution function (PDF) and Mach number density relation in the various simulations and conclude that 2-phase flows behave rather differently than polytropic flows. We also extract the clumps and study their statistical properties such as the mass spectrum, mass-size relation and internal velocity dispersion. In each case, it is found that the behavior is well represented by a simple power law. While the various exponents inferred are very similar for the 2-phase, isothermal and polytropic flows, we nevertheless find significant differences, as for example the internal velocity dispersion, which is smaller for 2-phase flows.
Conclusions. The structure statistics are very similar to what has been inferred from observations, in particular the mass spectrum, the mass-size relation and the velocity dispersion-size relation are all power laws whose indices well agree with the observed values. Our results suggest that in spite of various statistics being similar for 2-phase and polytropic flows, they nevertheless present significant differences, stressing the necessity to consider the proper thermal structure of the interstellar atomic hydrogen for computing its dynamics as well as the formation of molecular clouds.
Key words: turbulence / instabilities / ISM: clouds / ISM: structure
© ESO, 2010