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A fast tree-based method for estimating column densities in adaptive mesh refinement codes: Influence of UV radiation field on the structure of molecular clouds

Abstract : Context. Ultraviolet radiation plays a crucial role in molecular clouds. Radiation and matter are tightly coupled and their interplay influences the physical and chemical properties of gas. In particular, modeling the radiation propagation requires calculating column densities, which can be numerically expensive in high-resolution multidimensional simulations. Aims. Developing fast methods for estimating column densities is mandatory if we are interested in the dynamical influence of the radiative transfer. In particular, we focus on the effect of the UV screening on the dynamics and on the statistical properties of molecular clouds.Methods. We have developed a tree-based method for a fast estimate of column densities, implemented in the adaptive mesh refinement code RAMSES. We performed numerical simulations using this method in order to analyze the influence of the screening on the clump formation.Results. We find that the accuracy for the extinction of the tree-based method is better than 10%, while the relative error for the column density can be much more. We describe the implementation of a method based on precalculating the geometrical terms that noticeably reduces the calculation time. To study the influence of the screening on the statistical properties of molecular clouds we present the probability distribution function of gas and the associated temperature per density bin and the mass spectra for different density thresholds.Conclusions. The tree-based method is fast and accurate enough to be used during numerical simulations since no communication is needed between CPUs when using a fully threaded tree. It is then suitable to parallel computing. We show that the screening for far UV radiation mainly affects the dense gas, thereby favoring low temperatures and affecting the fragmentation. We show that when we include the screening, more structures are formed with higher densities in comparison to the case that does not include this effect. We interpret this as the result of the shielding effect of dust, which protects the interiors of clumps from the incoming radiation, thus diminishing the temperature and changing locally the Jeans mass.
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Valeska Valdivia, Patrick Hennebelle. A fast tree-based method for estimating column densities in adaptive mesh refinement codes: Influence of UV radiation field on the structure of molecular clouds. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2014, 571, pp.A46. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201423720⟩. ⟨cea-01290004⟩

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