Mechanisms for the Origin of Turbulence in Non-Star-forming Clouds: The Translucent Cloud MBM 40

Steven N. Shore, Indiana University - South Bend
Loris Magnani, University of Georgia
Ted La Rosa, Kennesaw State University
Meredith N. McCarthy, University of Georgia


We present a multiline, high spatial and velocity resolution CO, H I, and IRAS 100 μm study of the high-latitude, low-mass, non-star-forming, translucent molecular cloud MBM 40. The cloud mass is distributed into two ridges, or filaments, that form a hairpin structure. Velocity channel maps indicate a highly ordered flow in the molecular gas, with the northeastern part of the filament moving away from and the southwestern filament moving toward the observer relative to the mean cloud radial velocity. Significant changes in emissivity occur over 0.03 pc, indicating large transverse density gradients along the ridges. However, the velocity field appears to be continuous, showing no evidence for shock compression. The neutral hydrogen at the same velocity envelops the molecular gas but shows a decrease along the hairpin, indicating that the atomic hydrogen has converted to H2; the strongest 100 μm emission coincides with the CO, not the H I, emission peak. These results indicate that MBM 40 is condensing out of a larger scale flow and is structured by thermal instability and shear flow turbulence. This externally driven turbulence does not produce large compression and may explain why gravitational collapse and star formation do not occur in MBM 40.