Fissel et al. (2018) – Relative Alignment Between the Magnetic Field and Molecular Gas Structure in the Vela C Giant Molecular Cloud using Low and High Density Tracers

We compare the magnetic field orientation for the young giant molecular cloud Vela C inferred from 500-$\mu$m polarization maps made with the BLASTPol balloon-borne polarimeter to the orientation of structures in the integrated line emission maps from Mopra observations. Averaging over the entire cloud we find that elongated structures in integrated line-intensity, or zeroth-moment maps, for low density tracers such as $^{12}$CO and $^{13}$CO $J$ $\rightarrow$ 1 – 0 are statistically more likely to align parallel to the magnetic field, while intermediate or high density tracers show (on average) a tendency for alignment perpendicular to the magnetic field. This observation agrees with previous studies of the change in relative orientation with column density in Vela C, and supports a model where the magnetic field is strong enough to have influenced the formation of dense gas structures within Vela C. The transition from parallel to no preferred/perpendicular orientation appears to happen between the densities traced by $^{13}$CO and by C$^{18}$O $J$ $\rightarrow$ 1 – 0. Using RADEX radiative transfer models to estimate the characteristic number density traced by each molecular line we find that the transition occurs at a molecular hydrogen number density of approximately $10^3$ cm$^{-3}$. We also see that the Centre-Ridge (the highest column density and most active star-forming region within Vela C) appears to have a transition at a lower number density, suggesting that this may depend on the evolutionary state of the cloud.

Fissel, Laura M.; Ade, Peter A. R.; Angilè, Francesco E.; Ashton, Peter; Benton, Steven J.; Chen, Che-Yu; Cunningham, Maria; Devlin, Mark J.; Dober, Bradley; Friesen, Rachel; Fukui, Yasuo; Galitzki, Nicholas; Gandilo, Natalie N.; Goodman, Alyssa; Green, Claire-Elise; Jones, Paul; Klein, Jeffrey; King, Patrick; Korotkov, Andrei L.; Li, Zhi-Yun; Lowe, Vicki; Martin, Peter G.; Matthews, Tristan G.; Moncelsi, Lorenzo; Nakamura, Fumitaka; Netterfield, Calvin B.; Newmark, Amanda; Novak, Giles; Pascale, Enzo; Poidevin, Frédérick; Santos, Fabio P.; Savini, Giorgio; Scott, Douglas; Shariff, Jamil A.; Soler, Juan D.; Thomas, Nicholas E.; Tucker, Carole E.; Tucker, Gregory S.; Ward-Thompson, Derek; Zucker, Catherine
2018, arXiv e-prints, 1804, arXiv:1804.08979