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  1. Poster representing NSF award 1908419 for the NSF CSSI PI meeting to be held July 25/26, 2022
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. Abstract

    We present an analysis of the kinematics of the Radcliffe Wave, a 2.7 kpc long sinusoidal band of molecular clouds in the solar neighborhood recently detected via 3D dust mapping. With Gaia DR2 astrometry and spectroscopy, we analyze the 3D space velocities of ∼1500 young stars along the Radcliffe Wave in action-angle space, using the motion of the wave’s newly born stars as a proxy for its gas motion. We find that the vertical angle of young stars—corresponding to their orbital phase perpendicular to the Galactic plane—varies significantly as a function of position along the structure, in a pattern potentially consistent with a wavelike oscillation. This kind of oscillation is not seen in a control sample of older stars from Gaia occupying the same volume, disfavoring formation channels caused by long-lived physical processes. We use a “wavy midplane” model to try to account for the trend in vertical angles seen in young stars, and find that while the best-fit parameters for the wave’s spatial period and amplitude are qualitatively consistent with the existing morphology defined by 3D dust, there is no evidence for additional velocity structure. These results support more recent and/or transitory processes in the formation of themore »Radcliffe Wave, which would primarily affect the motion of the wave’s gaseous material. Comparisons of our results with new and upcoming simulations, in conjunction with new stellar radial velocity measurements in Gaia DR3, should allow us to further discriminate between various competing hypotheses.

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  3. Abstract Spectral lines of ammonia, NH 3 , are useful probes of the physical conditions in dense molecular cloud cores. In addition to advantages in spectroscopy, ammonia has also been suggested to be resistant to freezing onto grain surfaces, which should make it a superior tool for studying the interior parts of cold, dense cores. Here we present high-resolution NH 3 observations with the Very Large Array and Green Bank Telescope toward a prestellar core. These observations show an outer region with a fractional NH 3 abundance of X (NH 3 ) = (1.975 ± 0.005) × 10 −8 (±10% systematic), but it also reveals that, after all, the X (NH 3 ) starts to decrease above a H 2 column density of ≈2.6 × 10 22 cm −2 . We derive a density model for the core and find that the break point in the fractional abundance occurs at the density n (H 2 ) ∼ 2 × 10 5 cm −3 , and beyond this point the fractional abundance decreases with increasing density, following the power law n −1.1 . This power-law behavior is well reproduced by chemical models where adsorption onto grains dominates the removal of ammoniamore »and related species from the gas at high densities. We suggest that the break-point density changes from core to core depending on the temperature and the grain properties, but that the depletion power law is anyway likely to be close to n −1 owing to the dominance of accretion in the central parts of starless cores.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 27, 2023
  4. For decades we have known that the Sun lies within the Local Bubble, a cavity of low-density, high-temperature plasma surrounded by a shell of cold, neutral gas and dust. However, the precise shape and extent of this shell, the impetus and timescale for its formation, and its relationship to nearby star formation have remained uncertain, largely due to low-resolution models of the local interstellar medium. Leveraging new spatial and dynamical constraints from the Gaia space mission, here we report an analysis of the 3D positions, shapes, and motions of dense gas and young stars within 200 pc of the Sun. We find that nearly all the star-forming complexes in the solar vicinity lie on the surface of the Local Bubble and that their young stars show outward expansion mainly perpendicular to the bubble's surface. Tracebacks of these young stars' motions support a scenario where the origin of the Local Bubble was a burst of stellar birth and then death (supernovae) taking place near the bubble's center beginning 14 Myr ago. The expansion of the Local Bubble created by the supernovae swept up the ambient interstellar medium into an extended shell that has now fragmented and collapsed into the most prominentmore »nearby molecular clouds, in turn providing robust observational support for the theory of supernova-driven star formation.« less
  5. Abstract Star formation primarily occurs in filaments where magnetic fields are expected to be dynamically important. The largest and densest filaments trace the spiral structure within galaxies. Over a dozen of these dense (∼10 4 cm −3 ) and long (>10 pc) filaments have been found within the Milky Way, and they are often referred to as “bones.” Until now, none of these bones has had its magnetic field resolved and mapped in its entirety. We introduce the SOFIA legacy project FIELDMAPS which has begun mapping ∼10 of these Milky Way bones using the HAWC+ instrument at 214 μ m and 18.″2 resolution. Here we present a first result from this survey on the ∼60 pc long bone G47. Contrary to some studies of dense filaments in the Galactic plane, we find that the magnetic field is often not perpendicular to the spine (i.e., the center line of the bone). Fields tend to be perpendicular in the densest areas of active star formation and more parallel or random in other areas. The average field is neither parallel nor perpendicular to the Galactic plane or the bone. The magnetic field strengths along the spine typically vary from ∼20 to ∼100 μmore »G. Magnetic fields tend to be strong enough to suppress collapse along much of the bone, but for areas that are most active in star formation, the fields are notably less able to resist gravitational collapse.« less
  6. ABSTRACT The North Polar Spur (NPS) is one of the largest structures observed in the Milky Way in both the radio and soft X-rays. While several predictions have been made regarding the origin of the NPS, modelling the structure is difficult without precise distance constraints. In this paper, we determine accurate distances to the southern terminus of the NPS and towards latitudes ranging up to 55°. First, we fit for the distance and extinction to stars towards the NPS using optical and near-infrared photometry and Gaia Data Release 2 astrometry. We model these per-star distance–extinction estimates as being caused by dust screens at unknown distances, which we fit for using a nested sampling algorithm. We then compare the extinction to the Spur derived from our 3D dust modelling with integrated independent measures from XMM–Newton X-ray absorption and H i column density measures. We find that we can account for nearly 100 per cent of the total column density of the NPS as lying within 140 pc for latitudes >26° and within 700 pc for latitudes <11°. Based on the results, we conclude that the NPS is not associated with the Galactic Centre or the Fermi bubbles. Instead, it is likely associated, especially at higher latitudes,more »with the Scorpius–Centaurus association.« less