Observational diagnostics for two-fluid turbulence in molecular clouds as suggested by simulations

Chad D. Meyer, Dinshaw S. Balsara, Blakesley Burkhart, Alex Lazarian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We present high-resolution simulations of two-fluid (ion-neutral) magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence with resolutions as large as 5123. All of the simulations are supersonic. We explore simulations that range from mildly sub-Alfv́enic to super-Alfv́enic. Such turbulence is thought to influence star formation processes in molecular clouds because typical cores form on length scales that are comparable to the dissipation scales of this turbulence in the ions. The simulations are motivated by the fact that recent studies of isophotologue lines in molecular clouds have found significant differences in the linewidth-size relationship for neutral and ion species. Our first goal in this paper is to explain those observations using simulations and analytic theory. Our second goal in this paper is to present a new set of density-based diagnostics by drawing on similar diagnostics that have been obtained by studying single-fluid turbulence. We further show that our two-fluid simulations play a vital role in reconciling alternative models of star formation. The velocity-dependent diagnostics display a very interesting complementarity with the density-dependent diagnostics. We find that the linewidth-size relationship should show a prominent difference between ions and neutrals when the line of sight is orthogonal to the mean field. We also find that the density probability distribution functions and their derived diagnostics should show prominent differences between the ions and neutrals when the line of sight is parallel to the mean field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2197-2210
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Clouds
  • MHD-turbulence-methods
  • Numerical-ISM


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