Magnetohydrodynamic Models of Molecular Tornadoes [GA]

Recent observations near the Galactic Centre have found several molecular filaments displaying striking helically-wound morphology, which are collectively known as “molecular tornadoes.” We investigate the equilibrium structure of these molecular tornadoes by formulating a magnetohydrodynamic model of a rotating, helically magnetized filament. A special analytical solution is derived where centrifugal forces balance exactly with toroidal magnetic stress. From the physics of torsional Alfv\'{e}n waves, we derive a constraint that links the toroidal flux-to-mass ratio and the pitch angle of the helical field to the rotation laws, which we find to be an important component in describing molecular tornado structure. The models are compared to the Ostriker solution for isothermal, non-magnetic, non-rotating filaments. We find that neither the analytic model nor the Alfv\'{e}n wave model suffer from unphysical density inversions noted by other authors. A Monte Carlo exploration of our parameter space is constrained by observational measurements of the Pigtail Molecular Cloud (Pigtail), Double Helix Nebula (DHN), and Galactic Centre molecular Tornado (GCT). Observable properties such as the velocity dispersion, filament radius, linear mass, and surface pressure can be used to derive three dimensionless constraints for our dimensionless models of these three objects. A virial analysis of these constrained models is studied for these three molecular tornadoes. We find that self-gravity is relatively unimportant, whereas magnetic fields, and external pressure play a dominant role in the confinement and equilibrium radial structure of these objects.

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K. Au and J. Fiege
Fri, 16 Jun 17

Comments: 26 pages, 9 figures, Accepted for publication in ApJ