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Li, Guang-Xing; Burkert, Andreas (2018): Quantifying the interplay between gravity and magnetic field in molecular clouds - a possible multiscale energy equipartition in NGC 6334. In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 474, No. 2: pp. 2167-2172
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Abstract

The interplay between gravity, turbulence and the magnetic field determines the evolution of the molecular interstellar medium (ISM) and the formation of the stars. In spite of growing interests, there remains a lack of understanding of the importance of magnetic field over multiple scales. We derive the magnetic energy spectrum - a measure that constraints the multiscale distribution of the magnetic energy, and compare it with the gravitational energy spectrum derived in Li & Burkert. In our formalism, the gravitational energy spectrum is purely determined by the surface density probability density distribution (PDF), and the magnetic energy spectrum is determined by both the surface density PDF and the magnetic field-density relation. If regions have density PDFs close to P(Sigma) similar to Sigma(-2) and a universal magnetic field-density relation B similar to rho(1/2), we expect a multiscale near equipartition between gravity and the magnetic fields. This equipartition is found to be true in NGC 6334, where estimates of magnetic fields over multiple scales (from 0.1 pc to a few parsec) are available. However, the current observations are still limited in sample size. In the future, it is necessary to obtain multiscale measurements of magnetic fields from different clouds with different surface density PDFs and apply our formalism to further study the gravity-magnetic field interplay.