Photo-evaporation of Globulettes : Numerical hydrodynamic studies of photo-evaporating low-mass globules in the Rosette Nebula

University essay from Institutionen för astronomi

Author: Andrej Kuutmann; [2007]

Keywords: astronomi; astronomy; astrophysics;

Abstract: In this work, the long-term evolution of globulettes, low-mass globules found in H II regions, is studied through numerical hydrodynamic simulations. It has been proposed by Gahm et al. (2007) that these clouds may form free-floating planetary mass objects due to shock compression, caused by heating from the intense UV radiation of the central OB star cluster. To address this possibility, lifetimes are calculated for three different 3D simulated cases, similar to globulettes found in the Rosette Nebula. A plane-parallel approximation of the radiation field is used, as well as an inhomogeneous initial density distribution. The ionizing radiation will cause the globulettes to photo-evaporate, creating a rocket acceleration effect from the mass ejected on the heated side of the cloud. For a typical globulette with an initial mass of 29.5 Jupiter masses a lifetime of 50 000 yrs is estimated. This estimate is compared to the analytical models of Mellema et al. (1998) and Bertoldi and McKee (1990) which suggest longer lifetimes; the discrepancy is attributed to fragmentation of the clouds in the numerical simulation, which is not adequately described by the models. Synthesized H-alpha images and lightcurves are presented, indicating that the bright rims of small clouds are only likely to be visible in dim parts of the Rosette Nebula. The morphology of simulated clouds generally agrees with observations. While the code does not include self-gravity, the gravitational stability of the clouds is studied indirectly. It is concluded that clouds in the planetary mass range are stable against gravitational collapse, from supporting thermal pressure alone, when in pressure equilibrium with the heated ionization front. However, gravity may play a significant role during the initial shock compression.

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