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Photoionization-regulated star formation and the structure of molecular cloudsA model for the rate of low-mass star formation in Galactic molecular clouds and for the influence of this star formation on the structure and evolution of the clouds is presented. The rate of energy injection by newly formed stars is estimated, and the effect of this energy injection on the size of the cloud is determined. It is shown that the observed rate of star formation appears adequate to support the observed clouds against gravitational collapse. The rate of photoionization-regulated star formation is estimated and it is shown to be in agreement with estimates of the observed rate of star formation if the observed molecular cloud parameters are used. The mean cloud extinction and the Galactic star formation rate per unit mass of molecular gas are predicted theoretically from the condition that photionization-regulated star formation be in equilibrium. A simple model for the evolution of isolated molecular clouds is developed.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Mckee, Christopher F.
(California, University Berkeley, United States)
Date Acquired
August 14, 2013
Publication Date
October 15, 1989
Publication Information
Publication: Astrophysical Journal, Part 1
Volume: 345
ISSN: 0004-637X
Subject Category
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
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