Non-ideal magnetohydrodynamics versus turbulence II: which is the dominant process in stellar core formation?

James Howard Wurster, Benjamin T. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Non-ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) is the dominant process. We investigate the effect of magnetic fields (ideal and non-ideal) and turbulence (sub- and transsonic) on the formation of protostars by following the gravitational collapse of 1 M gas clouds through the first hydrostatic core to stellar densities. The clouds are imposed with both rotational and turbulent velocities, and are threaded with a magnetic field that is parallel/antiparallel or perpendicular to the rotation axis; we investigate two rotation rates and four Mach numbers. The initial radius and mass of the stellar core are only weakly dependent on the initial parameters. In the models that include ideal MHD, the magnetic field strength implanted in the protostar at birth is much higher than observed, independent of the initial level of turbulence; only non-ideal MHD can reduce this strength to near or below the observed levels. This suggests that not only is ideal MHD an incomplete picture of star formation, but that the magnetic fields in low mass stars are implanted later in life by a dynamo process. Non-ideal MHD suppresses magnetically launched stellar core outflows, but turbulence permits thermally launched outflows to form a few years after stellar core formation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3807-3818
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date28 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Magnetic fields
  • MHD
  • Turbulence
  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: winds, outflows


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