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  1. Abstract

    Measured properties of young stellar objects (YSOs) are key tools for research into pre-main-sequence stellar evolution. YSO properties are commonly measured by comparing observed radiation to existing grids of template YSO spectral energy distributions (SEDs) calculated by radiative transfer. These grids are often sampled and constructed using simple models of mass assembly/accretion over time. However, because we do not yet have a complete theory of star formation, the choice of model sets the tracked parameters and range of allowed values. By construction, then, the assumed model limits the measurements that can be made using the grid. Radiative transfer models not constrained by specific accretion histories would enable assessment of a wider range of theories. We present an updated version of the Robitaille set (2017) of YSO SEDs, a collection of models with no assumed evolutionary theory. We outline our newly calculated properties: envelope mass, weighted-average dust temperature, disk stability, and circumstellarAV. We also convolve the SEDs with new filters, including JWST, and provide users the ability to perform additional convolutions. We find a correlation between the average temperature and millimeter-wavelength brightness of optically thin dust in our models and discuss its ramifications for mass measurements of pre- and protostellar cores. We also compare the positions of YSOs of different observational classes and evolutionary stages in IR color space and use our models to quantify the extent to which class and stage may be confused due to observational effects. Our updated models are released to the public.

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  2. Abstract

    The canonical picture of star formation involves disk-mediated accretion, with Keplerian accretion disks and associated bipolar jets primarily observed in nearby, low-mass young stellar objects (YSOs). Recently, rotating gaseous structures and Keplerian disks have been detected around several massive (M > 8 M) YSOs (MYSOs)1–4, including several disk-jet systems5–7. All the known MYSO systems are in the Milky Way, and all are embedded in their natal material. Here we report the detection of a rotating gaseous structure around an extragalactic MYSO in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The gas motion indicates that there is a radial flow of material falling from larger scales onto a central disk-like structure. The latter exhibits signs of Keplerian rotation, so that there is a rotating toroid feeding an accretion disk and thus the growth of the central star. The system is in almost all aspects comparable to Milky Way high-mass YSOs accreting gas from a Keplerian disk. The key difference between this source and its Galactic counterparts is that it is optically revealed rather than being deeply embedded in its natal material as is expected of such a massive young star. We suggest that this is the consequence of the star having formed in a low-metallicity and low-dust content environment. Thus, these results provide important constraints for models of the formation and evolution of massive stars and their circumstellar disks.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 4, 2025
  3. Abstract

    Evidence abounds that young stellar objects undergo luminous bursts of intense accretion that are short compared to the time it takes to form a star. It remains unclear how much these events contribute to the main-sequence masses of the stars. We demonstrate the power of time-series far-infrared (far-IR) photometry to answer this question compared to similar observations at shorter and longer wavelengths. We start with model spectral energy distributions that have been fit to 86 Class 0 protostars in the Orion molecular clouds. The protostars sample a broad range of envelope densities, cavity geometries, and viewing angles. We then increase the luminosity of each model by factors of 10, 50, and 100 and assess how these luminosity increases manifest in the form of flux increases over wavelength ranges of interest. We find that the fractional change in the far-IR luminosity during a burst more closely traces the change in the accretion rate than photometric diagnostics at mid-infrared and submillimeter wavelengths. We also show that observations at far-IR and longer wavelengths reliably track accretion changes without confusion from large, variable circumstellar and interstellar extinction that plague studies at shorter wavelengths. We close by discussing the ability of a proposed far-IR surveyor for the 2030s to enable improvements in our understanding of the role of accretion bursts in mass assembly.

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  4. Abstract

    We report the discovery of nine new hot molecular cores in the Deep South (DS) region of Sagittarius B2 using Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array Band 6 observations. We measure the rotational temperature of CH3OH and derive the physical conditions present within these cores and the hot core Sgr B2(S). The cores show heterogeneous temperature structure, with peak temperatures between 252 and 662 K. We find that the cores span a range of masses (203–4842M) and radii (3587–9436 au). CH3OH abundances consistently increase with temperature across the sample. Our measurements show the DS hot cores are structurally similar to Galactic disk hot cores, with radii and temperature gradients that are comparable to sources in the disk. They also show shallower density gradients than disk hot cores, which may arise from the Central Molecular Zone’s higher density threshold for star formation. The hot cores have properties which are consistent with those of Sgr B2(N), with three associated with Class II CH3OH masers and one associated with an ultra-compact Hiiregion. Our sample nearly doubles the high-mass star-forming gas mass near Sgr B2(S) and suggests the region may be a younger, comparably massive counterpart to Sgr B2(N) and (M). The relationship between peak CH3OH abundance and rotational temperature traced by our sample and a selection of comparable hot cores is qualitatively consistent with predictions from chemical modeling. However, we observe constant peak abundances at higher temperatures (T≳ 250 K), which may indicate mechanisms for methanol survival that are not yet accounted for in models.

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  5. Abstract

    In this work, we constrain the star-forming properties of all possible sites of incipient high-mass star formation in the Milky Way’s Galactic Center. We identify dense structures using the CMZoom 1.3 mm dust continuum catalog of objects with typical radii of ∼0.1 pc, and measure their association with tracers of high-mass star formation. We incorporate compact emission at 8, 21, 24, 25, and 70μm from the Midcourse Space Experiment, Spitzer, Herschel, and SOFIA, cataloged young stellar objects, and water and methanol masers to characterize each source. We find an incipient star formation rate (SFR) for the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ) of ∼0.08Myr−1over the next few 105yr. We calculate upper and lower limits on the CMZ’s incipient SFR of ∼0.45 and ∼0.05Myr−1,respectively, spanning roughly equal to and several times greater than other estimates of CMZ’s recent SFR. Despite substantial uncertainties, our results suggest the incipient SFR in the CMZ may be higher than previously estimated. We find that the prevalence of star formation tracers does not correlate with source volume density, but instead ≳75% of high-mass star formation is found in regions above a column density ratio (NSMA/NHerschel) of ∼1.5. Finally, we highlight the detection ofatoll sources, a reoccurring morphology of cold dust encircling evolved infrared sources, possibly representing Hiiregions in the process of destroying their envelopes.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  6. Abstract

    We present 500 and 700 au resolution 1 and 3 mm Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array observations, respectively, of protostellar cores in protoclusters Sagittarius B2 (Sgr B2) North (N) and Main (M), parts of the most actively star-forming cloud in our Galaxy. Previous lower-resolution (5000 au) 3 mm observations of this region detected ∼150 sources inferred to be young stellar objects (YSOs) withM> 8M. With a 10-fold increase in resolution, we detect 371 sources at 3 mm and 218 sources in the smaller field of view at 1 mm. The sources seen at low resolution are observed to fragment into an average of two objects. About one-third of the observed sources fragment. Most of the sources we report are marginally resolved and are at least partially optically thick. We determine that the observed sources are most consistent with Stage 0/I YSOs, i.e., rotationally supported disks with an active protostar and an envelope, that are warmer than those observed in the solar neighborhood. We report source-counting-based inferred stellar mass and the star formation rate of the cloud: 2800Mand 0.0038Myr−1for Sgr B2 N and 6900Mand 0.0093Myr−1for Sgr B2 M, respectively.

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  7. Abstract

    We present observations of population anti-inversion in the 31− 40A+transition of CH3OH (methanol) at 107.013831 GHz toward the Galactic center cloud G0.253+0.016 (“The Brick”). Anti-inversion of molecular level populations can result in absorption lines against the cosmic microwave background (CMB) in a phenomenon known as a “dasar.” We model the physical conditions under which the 107 GHz methanol transition dases and determine that dasing occurs at densities below 106cm−3and column densities between 1013and 1016cm−2. We also find that for this transition, dasing does not strongly depend on the gas kinetic temperature. We evaluate the potential of this tool for future deep galaxy surveys. We note that other works have already reported absorption in this transition (e.g., in NGC 253), but we provide the first definitive evidence that it is absorption against the CMB rather than against undetected continuum sources.

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  8. Abstract

    The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy withbar lanesthat bring gas toward the Galactic center. Gas flowing along these bar lanes often overshoots, and instead of accreting onto the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ), it collides with the bar lane on the opposite side of the Galaxy. We observed G5, a cloud that we believe is the site of one such collision, near the Galactic center at (,b) = ( +5.4, −0.4) with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array/Atacama Compact Array. We took measurements of the spectral lines12COJ= 2 → 1,13COJ= 2 → 1, C18OJ= 2 → 1, H2COJ= 303→ 202, H2COJ= 322→ 221, CH3OHJ= 422→ 312, OCSJ= 18 → 17, and SiOJ= 5 → 4. We observed a velocity bridge between two clouds at ∼50 and ∼150 km s−1in our position–velocity diagram, which is direct evidence of a cloud–cloud collision. We measured an average gas temperature of ∼60 K in G5 using H2CO integrated-intensity line ratios. We observed that the12C/13C ratio in G5 is consistent with optically thin, or at most marginally optically thick12CO. We measured1.5×1019cm2(Kkms1)1for the local XCO, 10–20× less than the average Galactic value. G5 is strong direct observational evidence of gas overshooting the CMZ and colliding with a bar lane on the opposite side of the Galactic center.

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    Young stellar objects (YSOs) are the gold standard for tracing star formation in galaxies but have been unobservable beyond the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds. But that all changed when the JWST was launched, which we use to identify YSOs in the Local Group galaxy M33, marking the first time that individual YSOs have been identified at these large distances. We present Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) imaging mosaics at 5.6 and 21 $\mu$m that cover a significant portion of one of M33’s spiral arms that has existing panchromatic imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope and deep Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array CO measurements. Using these MIRI and Hubble Space Telescope images, we identify point sources using the new dolphot MIRI module. We identify 793 candidate YSOs from cuts based on colour, proximity to giant molecular clouds (GMCs), and visual inspection. Similar to Milky Way GMCs, we find that higher mass GMCs contain more YSOs and YSO emission, which further show YSOs identify star formation better than most tracers that cannot capture this relationship at cloud scales. We find evidence of enhanced star formation efficiency in the southern spiral arm by comparing the YSOs to the molecular gas mass.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 23, 2024
  10. Abstract

    We report JWST NIRCam observations of G0.253+0.016, the molecular cloud in the Central Molecular Zone known as “The Brick,” with the F182M, F187N, F212N, F410M, F405N, and F466N filters. We catalog 56,146 stars detected in all six filters using thecrowdsourcepackage. Stars within and behind The Brick exhibit prodigious absorption in the F466N filter that is produced by a combination of CO ice and gas. In support of this conclusion, and as a general resource, we present models of CO gas and ice and CO2ice in the F466N, F470N, and F410M filters. Both CO gas and ice contribute to the observed stellar colors. We show, however, that CO gas does not absorb the Pfβand Huϵlines in F466N, but that these lines show excess absorption, indicating that CO ice is present and contributes to observed F466N absorption. The most strongly absorbed stars in F466N are extincted by ∼2 mag, corresponding to >80% flux loss. This high observed absorption requires very high column densities of CO, and thus a total CO column that is in tension with standard CO abundance and/or gas-to-dust ratios. This result suggests the CO/H2ratio and dust-to-gas ratio are greater in the Galactic Center than in the Galactic disk. Ice and/or gas absorption is observed even in the cloud outskirts, implying that additional caution is needed when interpreting stellar photometry in filters that overlap with ice bands throughout galactic centers.

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