skip to main content

Title: 3D radiative transfer modelling and virial analysis of starless cores in the B10 region of the Taurus molecular cloud

Low-mass stars like our Sun begin their evolution within cold (10 K) and dense (∼105 cm−3) cores of gas and dust. The physical structure of starless cores is best probed by thermal emission of dust grains. We present a high-resolution dust continuum study of the starless cores in the B10 region of the Taurus Molecular Cloud. New observations at 1.2 and 2.0 mm (12 and 18 arcsec resolution) with the NIKA2 instrument on the IRAM 30m have probed the inner regions of 14 low-mass starless cores. We perform sophisticated 3D radiative transfer modelling for each of these cores through the radiative transfer framework pandora, which utilizes RADMC-3D. Model best-fits constrain each cores’ central density, density slope, aspect ratio, opacity, and interstellar radiation field strength. These ‘typical’ cores in B10 span central densities from 5 × 104 to 1 × 106 cm−3, with a mean value of 2.6 × 105 cm−3. We find the dust opacity laws assumed in the 3D modelling, as well as the estimates from Herschel, have dust emissivity indices, β’s, on the lower end of the distribution constrained directly from the NIKA2 maps, which averages to β = 2.01 ± 0.48. From our 3D density structures and archival NH3 data, we perform a self-consistent virial analysis to assess each core’s stability. Ignoring magnetic field contributions, we find nine out of the 14 cores (64  per cent) are either in virial equilibrium or are bound by gravity and external pressure. To push the bounded cores back to equilibrium, an effective magnetic field difference of only ∼15 $\mu$G is needed.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Medium: X Size: p. 4579-4597
["p. 4579-4597"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this

    Young massive clusters (YMCs) are compact (≲1 pc), high-mass (>104 M⊙) stellar systems of significant scientific interest. Due to their rarity and rapid formation, we have very few examples of YMC progenitor gas clouds before star formation has begun. As a result, the initial conditions required for YMC formation are uncertain. We present high resolution (0.13 arcsec, ∼1000 au) ALMA observations and Mopra single-dish data, showing that Galactic Centre dust ridge ‘Cloud d’ (G0.412 + 0.052, mass = 7.6 × 104 M⊙, radius = 3.2 pc) has the potential to become an Arches-like YMC (104 M⊙, r ∼ 1 pc), but is not yet forming stars. This would mean it is the youngest known pre-star-forming massive cluster and therefore could be an ideal laboratory for studying the initial conditions of YMC formation. We find 96 sources in the dust continuum, with masses ≲3 M⊙ and radii of ∼103 au. The source masses and separations are more consistent with thermal rather than turbulent fragmentation. It is not possible to unambiguously determine the dynamical state of most of the sources, as the uncertainty on virial parameter estimates is large. We find evidence for large-scale (∼1 pc) converging gas flows, which could cause the cloud to grow rapidly, gaining 104 M⊙ within 105 yr. The highest density gas is found at the convergent point of the large-scale flows. We expect this cloud to form many high-mass stars, but find no high-mass starless cores. If the sources represent the initial conditions for star formation, the resulting initial mass function will be bottom heavy.

    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT (Sub)millimetre dust opacities are required for converting the observable dust continuum emission to the mass, but their values have long been uncertain, especially in discs around young stellar objects. We propose a method to constrain the opacity κν in edge-on discs from a characteristic optical depth τ0,ν, the density ρ0, and radius R0 at the disc outer edge through κν = τ0,ν/(ρ0R0), where τ0,ν is inferred from the shape of the observed flux along the major axis, ρ0 from gravitational stability considerations, and R0 from direct imaging. We applied the 1D semi-analytical model to the embedded, Class 0, HH 212 disc, which has high-resolution data in Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) bands 9, 7, 6, and 3 and Very Large Array Ka band (λ = 0.43, 0.85, 1.3, 2.9, and 9.1 mm). The modelling is extended to 2D through RADMC-3D radiative transfer calculations. We find a dust opacity of κν ≈ 1.9 × 10−2, 1.3 × 10−2, and 4.9 × 10−3 cm2 g−1 of gas and dust for ALMA bands 7, 6, and 3, respectively, with uncertainties dependent on the adopted stellar mass. The inferred opacities lend support to the widely used prescription κλ = 2.3 × 10−2(1.3mm/λ) cm2 g−1 . We inferred a temperature of ∼45 K at the disc outer edge that increases radially inwards. It is well above the sublimation temperatures of ices such as CO and N2, which supports the notion that the disc chemistry cannot be completely inherited from the protostellar envelope. 
    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT G0.253+0.016, aka ‘the Brick’, is one of the most massive (>105 M⊙) and dense (>104 cm−3) molecular clouds in the Milky Way’s Central Molecular Zone. Previous observations have detected tentative signs of active star formation, most notably a water maser that is associated with a dust continuum source. We present ALMA Band 6 observations with an angular resolution of 0.13 arcsec (1000 AU) towards this ‘maser core’ and report unambiguous evidence of active star formation within G0.253+0.016. We detect a population of eighteen continuum sources (median mass ∼2 M⊙), nine of which are driving bi-polar molecular outflows as seen via SiO (5–4) emission. At the location of the water maser, we find evidence for a protostellar binary/multiple with multidirectional outflow emission. Despite the high density of G0.253+0.016, we find no evidence for high-mass protostars in our ALMA field. The observed sources are instead consistent with a cluster of low-to-intermediate-mass protostars. However, the measured outflow properties are consistent with those expected for intermediate-to-high-mass star formation. We conclude that the sources are young and rapidly accreting, and may potentially form intermediate- and high-mass stars in the future. The masses and projected spatial distribution of the cores are generally consistent with thermal fragmentation, suggesting that the large-scale turbulence and strong magnetic field in the cloud do not dominate on these scales, and that star formation on the scale of individual protostars is similar to that in Galactic disc environments. 
    more » « less

    Interstellar chemistry is important for galaxy formation, as it determines the rate at which gas can cool, and enables us to make predictions for observable spectroscopic lines from ions and molecules. We explore two central aspects of modelling the chemistry of the interstellar medium (ISM): (1) the effects of local stellar radiation, which ionizes and heats the gas, and (2) the depletion of metals on to dust grains, which reduces the abundance of metals in the gas phase. We run high-resolution (400 M⊙ per baryonic particle) simulations of isolated disc galaxies, from dwarfs to Milky Way-mass, using the fire galaxy formation models together with the chimes non-equilibrium chemistry and cooling module. In our fiducial model, we couple the chemistry to the stellar fluxes calculated from star particles using an approximate radiative transfer scheme; and we implement an empirical density-dependent prescription for metal depletion. For comparison, we also run simulations with a spatially uniform radiation field, and without metal depletion. Our fiducial model broadly reproduces observed trends in H i and H2 mass with stellar mass, and in line luminosity versus star formation rate for [C ii]$_{158 \rm {\mu m}}$, [O i]$_{63 \rm {\mu m}}$, [O iii]$_{88 \rm {\mu m}}$, [N ii]$_{122 \rm {\mu m}}$, and H α6563Å. Our simulations with a uniform radiation field predict fainter luminosities, by up to an order of magnitude for [O iii]$_{88 \rm {\mu m}}$ and H α6563Å, while ignoring metal depletion increases the luminosity of carbon and oxygen lines by a factor ≈ 2. However, the overall evolution of the galaxy is not strongly affected by local stellar fluxes or metal depletion, except in dwarf galaxies where the inclusion of local fluxes leads to weaker outflows and hence higher gas fractions.

    more » « less
  5. ABSTRACT Recent observations indicate that organic molecules are prevalent towards starless and pre-stellar cores. Deuteration of these molecules has not been well studied during the starless phase. Published observations of singly deuterated methanol, CH2DOH, have only been observed in a couple of well-studied, dense, and evolved pre-stellar cores (e.g. L1544, L183). Since the formation of gas-phase methanol during this cold phase is believed to occur via desorption from the icy grain surfaces, observations of CH2DOH may be useful as a probe of the deuterium fraction in the ice mantles of dust grains. We present a systematic survey of CH2DOH towards 12 starless and pre-stellar cores in the B10 region of the Taurus molecular cloud. Nine of the 12 cores are detected with [CH2DOH]/[CH3OH] ranging from <0.04 to 0.23$^{+0.12}_{-0.06}$ with a median value of 0.11. Sources not detected tend to have larger virial parameters and larger methanol linewidths than detected sources. The results of this survey indicate that deuterium fractionation of organic molecules, such as methanol, during the starless phase may be more easily detectable than previously thought. 
    more » « less