M. T. Beltran

University of Barcelona, Barcino, Catalonia, Spain

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Publications (86)321.39 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: NGC6357 is an active star forming region with very young massive open clusters (OC). These clusters contain some of the most massive stars in the Galaxy and strongly interact with nearby giant molecular clouds (GMC). We study the young stellar populations of the region and of the OC Pismis24, focusing on their relationship with the nearby GMCs. We seek evidence of triggered star formation propagating from the clusters. We used new deep JHKs photometry, along with unpublished deep IRAC/Spitzer MIR photometry, complemented with optical HST/WFPC2 high spatial resolution photometry and X-ray Chandra observations, to constrain age, initial mass function, and star formation modes in progress. We carefully examine and discuss all sources of bias (saturation, confusion, different sensitivities, extinction). NGC6357 hosts three large young stellar clusters, of which Pismis24 is the most prominent. We found that Pismis24 is a very young (~1-3 Myr) OC with a Salpeter-like IMF and a few thousand members. A comparison between optical and IR photometry indicates that the fraction of members with a NIR excess (i. e., with a circumstellar disk) is in the range 0.3-0.6, consistent with its photometrically derived age. We also find that Pismis24 is likely subdivided into a few different sub-clusters, one of which contains almost all the massive members. There are indications of current star formation triggered by these massive stars, but clear age trends could not be derived (although the fraction of stars with a NIR excess does increase towards the HII region associated with the cluster). The gas out of which Pismis24 formed must have been distributed in dense clumps within a cloud of less dense gas ~1 pc in radius. Our findings provide some new insight into how young stellar populations and massive stars emerge, and evolve in the first few Myr after birth, from a giant molecular cloud complex.
    10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of a line identification analysis using data from the IRAM Plateau de Bure Inferferometer, focusing on six massive star-forming hot cores: G31.41+0.31, G29.96-0.02, G19.61-0.23, G10.62-0.38, G24.78+0.08A1 and G24.78+0.08A2. We identify several transitions of vibrationally excited methyl formate (HCOOCH$_3$) for the first time in these objects as well as transitions of other complex molecules, including ethyl cyanide (C$_2$H$_5$CN), and isocyanic acid (HNCO). We also postulate a detection of one transition of glycolaldehyde (CH$_2$(OH)CHO) in two new hot cores. We find G29.96-0.02, G19.61-0.23, G24.78+0.08A1 and 24.78+0.08A2 to be chemically very similar. G31.41+0.31, however, is chemically different: it manifests a larger chemical inventory and has significantly larger column densities. We suggest that it may represent a different evolutionary stage to the other hot cores in the sample, or it may surround a star with a higher mass. We derive column densities for methyl formate in G31.41+0.31, using the rotation diagram method, of $\times$10$^{17}$ cm$^{-2}$ and a T$_{rot}$ of $\sim$170 K. For G29.96-0.02, G24.78+0.08A1 and G24.78+0.08A2, glycolaldehyde, methyl formate and methyl cyanide all seem to trace the same material and peak at roughly the same position towards the dust emission peak. For G31.41+0.31, however, glycolaldehyde shows a different distribution to methyl formate and methyl cyanide and seems to trace the densest, most compact inner part of hot cores.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2014; 443(4). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study aims at characterizing the massive star forming region G35.20N, which is found associated with at least one massive outflow and contains multiple dense cores, one of them recently found associated with a Keplerian rotating disk. We used ALMA to observe the G35.20N region in the continuum and line emission at 350 GHz. The observed frequency range covers tracers of dense gas (e.g. H13CO+, C17O), molecular outflows (e.g. SiO), and hot cores (e.g. CH3CN, CH3OH). The ALMA 870 um continuum emission map reveals an elongated dust structure (0.15 pc long and 0.013 pc wide) perpendicular to the large-scale molecular outflow detected in the region, and fragmented into a number of cores with masses 1-10 Msun and sizes 1600 AU. The cores appear regularly spaced with a separation of 0.023 pc. The emission of dense gas tracers such as H13CO+ or C17O is extended and coincident with the dust elongated structure. The three strongest dust cores show emission of complex organic molecules characteristic of hot cores, with temperatures around 200 K, and relative abundances 0.2-2x10^(-8) for CH3CN and 0.6-5x10^(-6) for CH3OH. The two cores with highest mass (cores A and B) show coherent velocity fields, with gradients almost aligned with the dust elongated structure. Those velocity gradients are consistent with Keplerian disks rotating about central masses of 4-18 Msun. Perpendicular to the velocity gradients we have identified a large-scale precessing jet/outflow associated with core B, and hints of an east-west jet/outflow associated with core A. The elongated dust structure in G35.20N is fragmented into a number of dense cores that may form massive stars. Based on the velocity field of the dense gas, the orientation of the magnetic field, and the regularly spaced fragmentation, we interpret this elongated structure as the densest part of a 1D filament fragmenting and forming massive stars.
    06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The enormous radiative and mechanical luminosities of massive stars impact a vast range of scales and processes, from the reionization of the universe, to the evolution of galaxies, to the regulation of the interstellar medium, to the formation of star clusters, and even to the formation of planets around stars in such clusters. Two main classes of massive star formation theory are under active study, Core Accretion and Competitive Accretion. In Core Accretion, the initial conditions are self-gravitating, centrally concentrated cores that condense with a range of masses from the surrounding, fragmenting clump environment. They then undergo relatively ordered collapse via a central disk to form a single star or a small-N multiple. In this case, the pre-stellar core mass function has a similar form to the stellar initial mass function. In Competitive Accretion, the material that forms a massive star is drawn more chaotically from a wider region of the clump without passing through a phase of being in a massive, coherent core. In this case, massive star formation must proceed hand in hand with star cluster formation. If stellar densities become very high near the cluster center, then collisions between stars may also help to form the most massive stars. We review recent theoretical and observational progress towards understanding massive star formation, considering physical and chemical processes, comparisons with low and intermediate-mass stars, and connections to star cluster formation.
    02/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present high spatial resolution (750 AU at 250 pc) maps of the B1 shock in the blue lobe of the L1157 outflow in four lines: CS (3-2), CH3OH (3_K-2_K), HC3N (16-15) and p-H2CO (2_02-3_01). The combined analysis of the morphology and spectral profiles has shown that the highest velocity gas is confined in a few compact (~ 5 arcsec) bullets while the lowest velocity gas traces the wall of the gas cavity excavated by the shock expansion. A large velocity gradient model applied to the CS (3-2) and (2-1) lines provides an upper limit of 10^6 cm^-3 to the averaged gas density in B1 and a range of 5x10^3< n(H2)< 5x10^5 cm^-3 for the density of the high velocity bullets. The origin of the bullets is still uncertain: they could be the result of local instabilities produced by the interaction of the jet with the ambient medium or could be clump already present in the ambient medium that are excited and accelerated by the expanding outflow. The column densities of the observed species can be reproduced qualitatively by the presence in B1 of a C-type shock and only models where the gas reaches temperatures of at least 4000 K can reproduce the observed HC3N column density.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 09/2013; 436(1). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: G29.96-0.02 is a high-mass star-forming cloud observed at 70, 160, 250, 350, and 500μm as part of the Herschel survey of the Galactic plane (Hi-GAL) during the science demonstration phase. We wish to conduct a far-infrared study of the sources associated with this star-forming region by estimating their physical properties and evolutionary stage, and investigating the clump mass function, the star formation efficiency and rate in the cloud. We have identified the Hi-GAL sources associated with the cloud, searched for possible counterparts at centimeter and infrared wavelengths, fitted their spectral energy distribution and estimated their physical parameters. (3 data files).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 08/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: (Abridged) Aims. To investigate the first stages of the process of high-mass star formation, we selected a sample of massive clumps previously observed with the SEST at 1.2 mm and with the ATNF ATCA at 1.3 cm. We want to characterize the physical conditions in such sources, and test whether their properties depend on the evolutionary stage of the clump. Methods. With ATCA we observed the selected sources in the NH3(1,1) and (2,2) transitions and in the 22 GHz H2O maser line. Ammonia lines are a good temperature probe that allow us to accurately determine the mass and the column-, volume-, and surface densities of the clumps. We also collected all data available to construct the spectral energy distribution of the individual clumps and to determine if star formation is already occurring, through observations of its most common signposts, thus putting constraints on the evolutionary stage of the source. We fitted the spectral energy distribution between 1.2 mm and 70 microns with a modified black body to derive the dust temperature and independently determine the mass. Results. The clumps are cold (T~10-30 K), massive (M~10^2-10^3 Mo), and dense (n(H2)>~10^5 cm^-3) and they have high column densities (N(H2)~10^23 cm^-2). All clumps appear to be potentially able to form high-mass stars. The most massive clumps appear to be gravitationally unstable, if the only sources of support against collapse are turbulence and thermal pressure, which possibly indicates that the magnetic field is important in stabilizing them. Conclusions. After investigating how the average properties depend on the evolutionary phase of the source, we find that the temperature and central density progressively increase with time. Sources likely hosting a ZAMS star show a steeper radial dependence of the volume density and tend to be more compact than starless clumps.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 07/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present VLA NH3 and PdBI NH2D and H13NC observations of the star forming core ahead of HH 80N, the optically obscured northern counterpart of the Herbig-Haro objects HH 80/81. The main goal is to determine the kinematical information of the high density regions of the core ($n\lesssim 10^5$ cm$^{-3}$), missed in previous works due to the depletion of the species observed (e.g. CS). The obtained maps show different kinematical signatures between the eastern and western parts of the core, suggesting a possible dynamical interaction of the core with the HH 80/81/80N outflow. The analysis of the Position-Velocity (PV) plots of these species rules out a previous interpretation of having a molecular ring-like structure of $6\times 10^4$ AU of radius traced by CS infalling onto a central protostar found in the core (IRS1). High degree of deuteration, with respect to the central part of the core harboring IRS1, is derived in the eastern part, where a dust condensation (SE) is located. This deuteration trend of NH3 suggests that SE is in a prestellar evolutionary stage, earlier than that of the IRS1. Since SE is the closest condensation to the HH 80N/81/80N outflow, in case of having outflow-core dynamical interaction, it should be perturbed first and be the most evolved condensation in the core. Therefore, the derived evolutionary sequence for SE and IRS1 makes the outflow triggered star formation on IRS1 unlikely.
    The Astrophysical Journal 07/2013; · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present high spatial resolution (750 AU at 250 pc) maps of the B1 shock in the blue lobe of the L1157 outflow in four molecular lines at 2mm. The combined analysis of the morphology and spectral profiles has shown that the gas flowing at higher velocity (from 6 to 20 km/s with respect the systemic velocity of 2.6 km/s) is confined in a few compact (~ 5") clumps while the gas flowing at lower velocity traces the wall of the gas cavity excavated by the jet and the apex of the bow shock. These results confirm the complexity, both in the morphology and in the chemistry, of the B1 region, likely induced by the shock originated by the interaction between the driving precessing jet and the ambient material. A large velocity gradient model applied to the CS (3-2) and (2-1) lines provides the gas density of the compact high velocity (HV) clumps in the range of 5x10^3 ≤n(H2)≤ 5x10^5 cm^3, indicating that the clumps tend to be less dense than the large scale emitting gas. The origin of the clumps is still uncertain: the observed clumpiness could be the result of local instabilities produced by the interaction of the driving jet and the ambient medium or the HV clumps could be already present in the ambient medium before the advent of the outflow and they are excited and pushed by the arrival of the expanding outflow cavity.
    07/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Theoretical models suggest that massive stars form via disk-mediated accretion, with bipolar outflows playing a fundamental role. A recent study toward massive molecular outflows has revealed a decrease of the SiO line intensity as the object evolves. The present study aims at characterizing the variation of the molecular outflow properties with time, and at studying the SiO excitation conditions in outflows associated with massive YSOs. We used the IRAM30m telescope to map 14 massive star-forming regions in the SiO(2-1), SiO(5-4) and HCO+(1-0) outflow lines, and in several dense gas and hot core tracers. Hi-GAL data was used to improve the spectral energy distributions and the L/M ratio, which is believed to be a good indicator of the evolutionary stage of the YSO. We detect SiO and HCO+ outflow emission in all the sources, and bipolar structures in six of them. The outflow parameters are similar to those found toward other massive YSOs. We find an increase of the HCO+ outflow energetics as the object evolve, and a decrease of the SiO abundance with time, from 10^(-8) to 10^(-9). The SiO(5-4) to (2-1) line ratio is found to be low at the ambient gas velocity, and increases as we move to high velocities, indicating that the excitation conditions of the SiO change with the velocity of the gas (with larger densities and/or temperatures for the high-velocity gas component). The properties of the SiO and HCO+ outflow emission suggest a scenario in which SiO is largely enhanced in the first evolutionary stages, probably due to strong shocks produced by the protostellar jet. As the object evolves, the power of the jet would decrease and so does the SiO abundance. During this process, however, the material surrounding the protostar would have been been swept up by the jet, and the outflow activity, traced by entrained molecular material (HCO+), would increase with time.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Context. G29.96-0.02 is a high-mass star-forming cloud observed at 70, 160, 250, 350, and 500 microns as part of the Herschel survey of the Galactic Plane during the Science Demonstration Phase. Aims. We wish to conduct a far-infrared study of the sources associated with this star-forming region by estimating their physical properties and evolutionary stage, and investigating the clump mass function, the star formation efficiency and rate in the cloud. Methods. We have identified the Hi-GAL sources associated with the cloud, searched for possible counterparts at centimeter and infrared wavelengths, fitted their spectral energy distribution and estimated their physical parameters. Results. A total of 198 sources have been detected in all 5 Hi-GAL bands, 117 of which are associated with 24 microns emission and 87 of which are not associated with 24 microns emission. We called the former sources 24 microns-bright and the latter ones 24 microns-dark. The [70-160] color of the 24 microns-dark sources is smaller than that of the 24 microns-bright ones. The 24 microns-dark sources have lower L_bol and L_bol/M_env than the 24 microns-bright ones for similar M_env, which suggests that they are in an earlier evolutionary phase. The G29-SFR cloud is associated with 10 NVSS sources and with extended centimeter continuum emission well correlated with the 70 microns emission. Most of the NVSS sources appear to be early B or late O-type stars. The most massive and luminous Hi-GAL sources in the cloud are located close to the G29-UC region, which suggests that there is a privileged area for massive star formation towards the center of the G29-SFR cloud. Almost all the Hi-GAL sources have masses well above the Jeans mass but only 5% have masses above the virial mass, which indicates that most of the sources are stable against gravitational collapse. The sources with M_env > M_virial and that ...
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 02/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present 30 and 40 micron imaging of the massive protostar G35.20-0.74 with SOFIA-FORCAST. The high surface density of the natal core around the protostar leads to high extinction, even at these relatively long wavelengths, causing the observed flux to be dominated by that emerging from the near-facing outflow cavity. However, emission from the far-facing cavity is still clearly detected. We combine these results with fluxes from the near-infrared to mm to construct a spectral energy distribution (SED). For isotropic emission the bolometric luminosity would be 3.3x10^4 Lsun. We perform radiative transfer modeling of a protostar forming by ordered, symmetric collapse from a massive core bounded by a clump with high mass surface density, Sigma_cl. To fit the SED requires protostellar masses ~20-34 Msun depending on the outflow cavity opening angle (35 - 50 degrees), and Sigma_cl ~ 0.4-1 g cm-2. After accounting for the foreground extinction and the flashlight effect, the true bolometric luminosity is ~ (0.7-2.2)x10^5 Lsun. One of these models also has excellent agreement with the observed intensity profiles along the outflow axis at 10, 18, 31 and 37 microns. Overall our results support a model of massive star formation involving the relatively ordered, symmetric collapse of a massive, dense core and the launching bipolar outflows that clear low density cavities. Thus a unified model may apply for the formation of both low and high mass stars.
    The Astrophysical Journal 02/2013; 767(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Context. The formation of OB-type stars up to (at least) 140 M⊙ can be explained via disk-mediated accretion and in fact growing observational evidence of disk-jet systems is found in high-mass star-forming regions. Aims: With the present observations we wish to investigate at sub-arcsecond resolution the jet structure close to the well studied high-mass protostar IRAS 20126+4104, which is known to be surrounded by a Keplerian disk. Methods: Adaptive optics imaging of the 2.2 μm continuum and H2 and Brγ line emission have been performed with the Large Binocular Telescope, attaining an angular resolution of ~90 mas and an astrometric precision of ~100 mas. Results: While our results are consistent with previous K-band images by other authors, the improved (by a factor ~3) resolution allows us to identify a number of previously unseen features, such as bow shocks spread all over the jet structure. Also, we confirm the existence of a bipolar nebulosity within 1'' from the protostar, prove that the emission from the brightest, SE lobe is mostly due to the H2 line, and resolve its structure. Conclusions: Comparison with other tracers such as masers, thermal molecular line emission, and free-free continuum emission proves that the bipolar nebulosity is indeed tracing the root of the bipolar jet powered by the deeply embedded protostar at the center of the Keplerian disk. Based on observations carried out with the Large Binocular Telescope. The LBT is an international collaboration among institutions in the United States, Italy and Germany. LBT Corporation partners are: The University of Arizona on behalf of the Arizona university system; Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Italy; LBT Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Germany, representing the Max-Planck Society, the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, and Heidelberg University; The Ohio State University, and The Research Corporation, on behalf of The University of Notre Dame, University of Minnesota, and University of Virginia.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 01/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We imaged the molecular outflows towards the cluster of high-mass young stellar objects G24.78+0.08 at high-angular resolution using SiO emission, which is considered the classical tracer of protostellar jets. We performed SiO observations with the VLA interferometer in the J = 1-0 v=0 transition and with the SMA array in the 5-4 transition. A complementary IRAM 30-m single-dish survey in the (2-1), (3-2), (5-4), and (6-5) SiO lines was also carried out. Two collimated SiO high-velocity outflows driven by the A2 and C millimeter continuum massive cores have been imaged. On the other hand, we detected no SiO outflow driven by the young stellar objects in more evolved evolutionary phases that are associated with ultracompact (B) or hypercompact (A1) HII regions. The LVG analysis reveals high-density gas (10^3-10^4 cm-3), with well constrained SiO column densities (0.5-1 10^15 cm-2). The driving source of the A2 outflow is associated with typical hot core tracers such as methyl formate, vinyl cyanide, cyanoacetilene, and acetone. The driving source of the main SiO outflow in G24 has an estimated luminosity of a few 10^4 Lsun (typical of a late O-type star) and is embedded in the 1.3 mm continuum core A2, which in turn is located at the centre of a hot core that rotates on a plane perpendicular to the outflow main axis. The present SiO images support a scenario similar to the low-mass case for massive star formation, where jets that are clearly traced by SiO emission, create outflows of swept-up ambient gas usually traced by CO.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 12/2012; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present ATCA observations of the H2O maser line and radio continuum at 18.0GHz and 22.8GHz, toward a sample of 192 massive star forming regions containing several clumps already imaged at 1.2mm. The main aim of this study is to investigate the water maser and centimeter continuum emission (likely tracing thermal free-free emission) in sources at different evolutionary stages, using the evolutionary classifications proposed by Palla et al (1991) and Molinari et al (2008). We used the recently comissioned CABB backend at ATCA obtaining images with 20arcsec resolution in the 1.3cm continuum and H2O maser emission, in all targets. For the evolutionary analysis of the sources we used the millimeter continuum emission from Beltran et al (2006) and the infrared emission from the MSX Point Source Catalogue. We detect centimeter continuum emission in 88% of the observed fields with a typical rms noise level of 0.45mJy/beam. Most of the fields show a single radio continuum source, while in 20% of them we identify multiple components. A total of 214 centimeter continuum sources have been identified, likely tracing optically thin HII regions, with physical parameters typical of both extended and compact HII regions. Water maser emission was detected in 41% of the regions, resulting in a total of 85 distinct components. The low angular (20arcsec) and spectral (14km/s) resolutions do not allow a proper analysis of the water maser emission, but suffice to investigate its association with the continuum sources. We have also studied the detection rate of HII regions in the two types of IRAS sources defined by Palla et (1991) on the basis of the IRAS colours: High and Low. No significant differences are found, with large detection rates (>90%) for both High and Low sources. We classify the millimeter and infrared sources in our fields in three evolutionary stages following the scheme presented by ...
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 11/2012; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Physical parameters of 238 HII regions and 78 water masers detected in 192 fields around IRAS sources. For each observed region the name, type, distance, equatorial and galactic coordinates and synthesized beams at 18.0 and 22.8GHz are given. For the detected centimeter continuum sources the name, coordinates, intensity and size are given, as well as the physical parameters derived assuming the emission comes from optically thin HII regions (size, brightness temperature, electron density, emission measure, mass of ionized gas, Lyman continuum, spectral type of the ionizing source, spectral index). (7 data files).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 11/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We present 6 and 20 cm JVLA/VLA observations of the northern head of the HH 80/81/80N jet, one of the largest collimated jet systems known so far, aimed to look for knots further away than HH 80N, the northern head of the jet. Aligned with the jet and 10 arcmin northeast of HH 80N, we found a radio source not reported before, with a negative spectral index similar to that HH 80, HH 81 and HH 80N. The fit of a precessing jet model to the knots of the HH 80/81/80N jet, including the new source, shows that the position of this source is close to the jet path resulting from the modeling. If the new source belongs to the HH 80/81/80N jet, its derived size and dynamical age are 18.4 pc and >9000 yr, respectively. If the jet is symmetric, its southern lobe would expand beyond the cloud edge resulting in an asymmetric appearance of the jet. Based on the updated dynamical age, we speculate on the possibility that the HH 80/81/80N jet triggered the star formation observed in a dense core found ahead of HH 80N, which shows signposts of interaction with the jet. These results indicate that pc scale radio jets can play a role on the stability of dense clumps and the regulation of star formation in the molecular cloud.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 09/2012; 758(1). · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Pipe nebula is a massive, nearby, filamentary dark molecular cloud with a low star-formation efficiency threaded by a uniform magnetic field perpendicular to its main axis. It harbors more than a hundred, mostly quiescent, very chemically young starless cores. The cloud is, therefore, a good laboratory to study the earliest stages of the star-formation process. We aim to investigate the primordial conditions and the relation among physical, chemical, and magnetic properties in the evolution of low-mass starless cores. We used the IRAM 30-m telescope to map the 1.2 mm dust continuum emission of five new starless cores, which are in good agreement with previous visual extinction maps. For the sample of nine cores, which includes the four cores studied in a previous work, we derived a Av to NH2 factor of (1.27$\pm$0.12)$\times10^{-21}$ mag cm$^{2}$ and a background visual extinction of ~6.7 mag possibly arising from the cloud material. We derived an average core diameter of ~0.08 pc, density of ~10$^5$ cm$^{-3}$, and mass of ~1.7 Msun. Several trends seem to exist related to increasing core density: (i) diameter seems to shrink, (ii) mass seems to increase, and (iii) chemistry tends to be richer. No correlation is found between the direction of the surrounding diffuse medium magnetic field and the projected orientation of the cores, suggesting that large scale magnetic fields seem to play a secondary role in shaping the cores. The full abstract is available in the pdf.
    07/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We have mapped in the 2.7 mm continuum and 12CO with the PdBI the IR-dark "tail" that crosses the IC 1396N globule from south to north, and is the most extincted part of this cloud. These observations have allowed us to distinguish all possible associations of molecular hydrogen emission features by revealing the presence of two well-collimated low-mass protostellar outflows at the northern part of the globule. The outflows are located almost in the plane of the sky and are colliding with each other towards the position of a strong 2.12 microns H2 line emission feature.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2012; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Infrared-dark high-mass clumps are among the most promising objects to study the initial conditions of the formation process of high-mass stars and rich stellar clusters. In this work, we have observed the (3-2) rotational transition of C18O with the APEX telescope, and the (1,1) and (2,2) inversion transitions of NH3 with the Australia Telescope Compact Array in 21 infrared-dark clouds already mapped in the 1.2 mm continuum, with the aim of measuring basic chemical and physical parameters such as the CO depletion factor (fD), the gas kinetic temperature and the gas mass. In particular, the C18O (3-2) line allows us to derive fD in gas at densities higher than that traced by the (1-0) and (2-1) lines, typically used in previous works. We have detected NH3 and C18O in all targets. The clumps possess mass, H2 column and surface densities consistent with being potentially the birthplace of high-mass stars. We have measured fD in between 5 and 78, with a mean value of 32 and a median of 29. These values are, to our knowledge, larger than the typical CO depletion factors measured towards infrared-dark clouds and high-mass dense cores, and are comparable to or larger than the values measured in low-mass pre-stellar cores close to the onset of the gravitational collapse. This result suggests that the earliest phases of the high-mass star and stellar cluster formation process are characterised by fD larger than in low-mass pre-stellar cores. Thirteen out of 21 clumps are undetected in the 24 {\mu}m Spitzer images, and have slightly lower kinetic temperatures, masses and H2 column densities with respect to the eight Spitzer-bright sources. This could indicate that the Spitzer-dark clumps are either less evolved or are going to form less massive objects.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 04/2012; 423(3). · 5.52 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

397 Citations
321.39 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007–2009
    • University of Barcelona
      • Department of Astronomy and Metereology
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2008
    • National Institute of Astrophysics
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2002–2008
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States