H.-B. Li (MPIA, Heidelberg, Germany),
A. Goodman (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, United States),
M. Houde (University of Western Ontario, Canada),
Z.-Y. Li (University of Virginia, United States),
G. Novak (Northwestern University, United States),
T. Sridharan (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, United States)

The question of whether magnetic fields play an important role in the processes of molecular cloud and star formation has been debated for decades. Recent observations reveal a simple picture that may help illuminate these questions: magnetic fields have a tendency to preserve their orientation at all scales that have been probed - from 100-pc scale inter-cloud media down to sub-pc scale cloud cores. This ordered morphology has implications for the way in which self-gravity and turbulence should interact with magnetic fields: both gravitational contraction and turbulent velocities should be anisotropic, due to the influence of dynamically important fields. Such anisotropy is largely observed. Here we review these recent observations and discuss how they can improve our understanding of cloud/star formation.

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