On the stability of non-isothermal Bonnor-Ebert spheres
Department of Physics, PO Box 64, 00014
University of Helsinki,
Received: 23 June 2011
Accepted: 26 August 2011
Aims. We aim to derive a stability condition for non-isothermal Bonnor-Ebert spheres and compare the physical properties of critical non-isothermal and isothermal gas spheres. These configurations can serve as models for prestellar cores before gravitational collapse.
Methods. A stability condition for non-isothermal spheres is derived by constructing an expression for the derivative of boundary pressure with respect to core volume. The temperature distribution is determined by means of radiative transfer calculations. Based on the stability analysis, we derive the physical parameters of critical cores for the mass range 0.1−5.0 M⊙. In addition, the properties of roughly Jupiter-mass cores are briefly examined.
Results. At the low-mass end the critical non-isothermal sphere has lower central density and a slightly larger physical radius than the corresponding isothermal sphere (i.e. one with the same mass and average temperature). The temperature decrease toward the core center becomes steeper toward lower masses as the central density becomes higher. The slope depends on the adopted dust model. We find that the critical dimensionless radius increases above the isothermal value ξ0 = 6.45 for very low-mass cores (<0.2 M⊙). However, in the mass-range studied here the changes are within 5% from the isothermal value.
Conclusions. The density structures of non-isothermal and isothermal Bonnor-Ebert spheres for a given mass are fairly similar. However, the present models predict clear differences in the average temperatures for the same physical radius. Especially for low-mass cores, the temperature gradient probably has implications on the chemistry and the observed line emission. We also find that hydrostatic Jupiter-mass cores with radii less than 100 AU would have very high boundary pressures compared with typical pressures in the interstellar space.
Key words: radiative transfer / ISM: clouds
© ESO, 2011