Connecting the Dots: Comparing Simulations and Synthetic Observations of Star-forming Clumps in Molecular Clouds
James Wadsley, Alison Sills, Michael Reid
The gravitational collapse of a giant molecular cloud produces localized dense regions, called clumps, within which low-mass star formation is believed to occur. Recent studies have shown that limitations of current observing techniques make it difficult to correctly identify and measure properties of these clumps that reflect the true nature of the star-forming regions. While the Herschel and ALMA observations will disentangle some of the issues, the only way to really understand the observational biases is by using large-scale simulations to model the collapse of a molecular cloud. In order to make a direct comparison with observations, we produced synthetic column density maps and a spectral-line cube from the simulated collapse of a large 5000 solar mass molecular cloud. Since we also have the full 3D simulation, we are able to provide a direct comparison of "observed" and "real" star-forming objects, highlighting any discrepancies in their physical properties, includ! ing the fraction of clumps which are gravitationally bound.