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Paper: Gravity, Turbulence, and Star Formation
Volume: 323, Star Formation in the Interstellar Medium: In Honor of David Hollenbach, Chris McKee, and Frank Shu
Page: 117
Authors: Elmegreen, B.
Abstract: The azimuthal power spectra of optical emission from star formation and dust in spiral galaxies resembles the azimuthal power spectra of HI emission from the LMC. These and other power spectra of whole galaxies all resemble that of velocity in incompressible Kolmogorov turbulence. The reasons for this are unknown but it could be simply that star and cloud formation are the result of a mixture of processes and each gives a power spectrum similar to Kolmogorov turbulence, within the observable errors. The important point is that star and cloud formation are not random but are correlated over large distances by forces that span several orders of magnitude in scale. These forces are probably the usual combination of self-gravity, turbulence, and compression from stellar winds and supernovae, but they have to work in concert to create the structures we see in galaxies. In addition, the identification of flocculant spirals with swing amplified instabilities opens the possibility that a high fraction of turbulence in the ISM is the result of self-gravity.
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