Friday, May 24, 2013

1305.5393 (Marco Padovani et al.)

Cosmic-ray propagation in molecular clouds    [PDF]

Marco Padovani, Daniele Galli
Cosmic-rays constitute the main ionising and heating agent in dense, starless, molecular cloud cores. We reexamine the physical quantities necessary to determine the cosmic-ray ionisation rate (especially the cosmic ray spectrum at E < 1 GeV and the ionisation cross sections), and calculate the ionisation rate as a function of the column density of molecular hydrogen. Available data support the existence of a low-energy component (below about 100 MeV) of cosmic-ray electrons or protons responsible for the ionisation of diffuse and dense clouds. We also compute the attenuation of the cosmic-ray flux rate in a cloud core taking into account magnetic focusing and magnetic mirroring, following the propagation of cosmic rays along flux tubes enclosing different amount of mass and mass-to-flux ratios. We find that mirroring always dominates over focusing, implying a reduction of the cosmic-ray ionisation rate by a factor of 3-4 depending on the position inside the core and the magnetisation of the core.
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