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On the angular momentum in star formation

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Abstract

We discuss the rotation of interstellar clouds which are in a stage immediately before star formation. Cloud collisions seem to be the principal cause of the observed rotation of interstellar clouds. The rotational motion of the clouds is strongly influenced by turbulence.

Theories dealing with the resolution of the angular momentum problem in star formation are classified into five major groups. We develop the old idea that the angular momentum of an interstellar cloud passes during star formation into the angular momentum of double star systems and/or circumstellar clouds.

It is suggested that a rotating gas cloud contracts into a ring-like structure which fragments into self-gravitating subcondensations. By collisions and gas accretion these subcondensations accrete into binary systems surrounded by circumstellar clouds. Using some rough approximations we find analytical expressions for the semi-major axis of the binary system and for the density of the circumstellar clouds as a function of the initial density and of the initial angular velocity of an interstellar cloud. The obtained values are well within the observational limits.

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Horedt, G.P. On the angular momentum in star formation. Astrophys Space Sci 54, 253–261 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00639432

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Keywords

  • Angular Momentum
  • Binary System
  • Rotational Motion
  • Star Formation
  • Initial Density