Star formation triggered by H II regions in our Galaxy: First results for N49 from the Herschel infrared survey of the Galactic plane
ABSTRACT Context. It has been shown that by means of different physical mechanisms the expansion of H ii regions can trigger the formation of new stars of all masses. This process may be important to the formation of massive stars but has never been quantified in the Galaxy. Aims. We use Herschel-PACS and -SPIRE images from the Herschel infrared survey of the Galactic plane, Hi-GAL, to perform this study. Methods. We combine the Spitzer-GLIMPSE and -MIPSGAL, radio-continuum and submillimeter surveys such as ATLASGAL with Hi-GAL to study young stellar objects (YSOs) observed towards Galactic H ii regions. We select a representative H ii region, N49, located in the field centered on l = 30° observed as part of the Hi-GAL science demonstration phase, to demonstrate the importance Hi-GAL will have to this field of research. Results. Hi-GAL PACS and SPIRE images reveal a new population of embedded young stars, coincident with bright ATLASGAL condensations. The Hi-GAL images also allow us, for the first time, to constrain the physical properties of the newly formed stars by means of fits to their spectral energy distribution. Massive young stellar objects are observed at the borders of the N49 region and represent second generation massive stars whose formation has been triggered by the expansion of the ionized region. Conclusions. The first Hi-GAL images obtained using PACS and SPIRE have demonstrated the capability to investigate star formation triggered by H ii regions. With radio, submillimeter, and shorter wavelength infrared data from other surveys, the Hi-GAL images reveal young massive star-forming clumps surrounding the perimeter of the N49 H ii generated bubble. Hi-GAL enables us to detect a population of young stars at different evolutionary stages, cold condensations only being detected in the SPIRE wavelength range. The far IR coverage of Hi-GAL strongly constrains the physical properties of the YSOs. The large and unbiased spatial coverage of this survey offers us a unique opportunity to lead, for the first time, a global study of star formation triggered by H ii regions in our Galaxy.