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Star Formation in Cygnus X

  • Author / Creator
    Deb, Soumen
  • In astrophysics, stellar evolution is one of the most discussed topics. Although a significant amount of research and advancement of instrumentation over the last few decades have contributed to this field greatly, our understanding of the pre-main sequence evolution remains largely incomplete. The general model for the formation of protostars within the ISM is the virial instability in cold molecular gas resulting in spontaneous gravitational collapse. However, the complete understanding of this instability requires a set of other physical factors, including the hydrodynamic turbulence in the ISM, local magnetic field strength, and feedback from surrounding high-mass stars, not all of them are well-understood. This work investigates the effect of stellar feedback on local star formation and the extent of energy support for molecular clouds provided by protostellar outflows within them.
    I first look into a specific case of potentially triggered star formation in Cygnus X, being one of the most active star-forming regions in the Milky Way. Using multi-line submillimetre emissions as well as radio continuum and infrared data, I measure the properties of two highly energetic molecular outflows near the massive stellar complex Cygnus OB2 complex. I show structure, physical conditions, and timescale of the outflows and the associated photoionized rim are consistent with a triggering scenario.
    I further investigate 13 such molecular outflows in Cygnus X and measure their properties using multi-line data which I find are similar to the previous surveys of outflows throughout the galaxy. Additionally, I develop and test a method to measure the same properties using single spectral line emission. This is useful in surveys where optically thin line data are not available.
    Next, I implement our method to estimate outflow properties in a large-scale survey of 82 outflows, many of which were previously unknown, based on single spectral-line observations. I use machine learning to fill out missing information on protostellar luminosity using existing catalogues and investigate the comparative predictive powers of line emission and radio continuum data on local outflow formation. Next, by comparing outflow power to turbulent dissipation power I show that single-generational outflows cannot provide enough energy support for the surrounding molecular clouds. Finally, I search for evidence of large-scale triggering of star formation and find that an ionization front can perhaps trigger local star formation where molecular gas emission is high, however, find no evidence for this effect to be strong.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2022
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-pwf3-vv93
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Library with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.