Giant Molecular Clouds

Both HI and diffuse molecular clouds can persist for long periods by means of pressure balance. That is, the internal thermal motion of the gas is prevented from dispersing the cloud by the confining presence of a surrounding, more rarefied and warmer medium. In giant molecular clouds, we encounter an entirely different dynamical situation. Here the main cohesive force is the cloud's own gravity, while internal thermal pressure plays only a minor role in the overall

Table 3.1 Physical Properties of Molecular Clouds

Cloud Type



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