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Hoemann, Elena; Heigl, Stefan and Burkert, Andreas (2021): Merging filaments I: a race against collapse. In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 507, No. 3: pp. 3486-3494

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The interstellar medium is characterized by an intricate filamentary network that exhibits complex structures. These show a variety of different shapes (e.g. junctions, rings, etc.) deviating strongly from the usually assumed cylindrical shape. A possible formation mechanism are filament mergers that we analyse in this study. Indeed, the proximity of filaments in networks suggests mergers to be rather likely. As the merger has to be faster than the end dominated collapse of the filament along its major axis, we expect three possible results: (a) The filaments collapse before a merger can happen, (b) the merged filamentary complex shows already signs of cores at the edges, or (c) the filaments merge into a structure which is not end-dominated. We develop an analytic formula for the merging and core-formation time-scale at the edge and validate our model via hydrodynamical simulations with the adaptive-mesh-refinement-code RAMSES. This allows us to predict the outcome of a filament merger, given different initial conditions which are the initial distance and the respective line-masses of each filament as well as their relative velocities.

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