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  1. We present the first data release of the ALMA-IMF Large Program, which covers the 12m-array continuum calibration and imaging. The ALMA-IMF Large Program is a survey of fifteen dense molecular cloud regions spanning a range of evolutionary stages that aims to measure the core mass function. We describe the data acquisition and calibration done by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory and the subsequent calibration and imaging we performed. The image products are combinations of multiple 12 m array configurations created from a selection of the observed bandwidth using multi-term, multi-frequency synthesis imaging and deconvolution. The data products are self-calibrated and exhibit substantial noise improvements over the images produced from the delivered data. We compare different choices of continuum selection, calibration parameters, and image weighting parameters, demonstrating the utility and necessity of our additional processing work. Two variants of continuum selection are used and will be distributed: the “best-sensitivity” ( bsens ) data, which include the full bandwidth, including bright emission lines that contaminate the continuum, and “cleanest” ( cleanest ), which select portions of the spectrum that are unaffected by line emission. We present a preliminary analysis of the spectral indices of the continuum data, showing that themore »ALMA products are able to clearly distinguish free-free emission from dust emission, and that in some cases we are able to identify optically thick emission sources. The data products are made public with this release.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Aims. Thanks to the high angular resolution, sensitivity, image fidelity, and frequency coverage of ALMA, we aim to improve our understanding of star formation. One of the breakthroughs expected from ALMA, which is the basis of our Cycle 5 ALMA-IMF Large Program, is the question of the origin of the initial mass function (IMF) of stars. Here we present the ALMA-IMF protocluster selection, first results, and scientific prospects. Methods. ALMA-IMF imaged a total noncontiguous area of ~53 pc 2 , covering extreme, nearby protoclusters of the Milky Way. We observed 15 massive (2.5 −33 × 10 3 M ⊙ ), nearby (2−5.5 kpc) protoclusters that were selected to span relevant early protocluster evolutionary stages. Our 1.3 and 3 mm observations provide continuum images that are homogeneously sensitive to point-like cores with masses of ~0.2 M ⊙ and ~0.6 M ⊙ , respectively, with a matched spatial resolution of ~2000 au across the sample at both wavelengths. Moreover, with the broad spectral coverage provided by ALMA, we detect lines that probe the ionized and molecular gas, as well as complex molecules. Taken together, these data probe the protocluster structure, kinematics, chemistry, and feedback over scales from clouds to filaments to cores.more »Results. We classify ALMA-IMF protoclusters as Young (six protoclusters), Intermediate (five protoclusters), or Evolved (four proto-clusters) based on the amount of dense gas in the cloud that has potentially been impacted by H  II region(s). The ALMA-IMF catalog contains ~700 cores that span a mass range of ~0.15 M ⊙ to ~250 M ⊙ at a typical size of ~2100 au. We show that this core sample has no significant distance bias and can be used to build core mass functions (CMFs) at similar physical scales. Significant gas motions, which we highlight here in the G353.41 region, are traced down to core scales and can be used to look for inflowing gas streamers and to quantify the impact of the possible associated core mass growth on the shape of the CMF with time. Our first analysis does not reveal any significant evolution of the matter concentration from clouds to cores (i.e., from 1 pc to 0.01 pc scales) or from the youngest to more evolved protoclusters, indicating that cloud dynamical evolution and stellar feedback have for the moment only had a slight effect on the structure of high-density gas in our sample. Furthermore, the first-look analysis of the line richness toward bright cores indicates that the survey encompasses several tens of hot cores, of which we highlight the most massive in the G351.77 cloud. Their homogeneous characterization can be used to constrain the emerging molecular complexity in protostars of high to intermediate masses. Conclusions. The ALMA-IMF Large Program is uniquely designed to transform our understanding of the IMF origin, taking the effects of cloud characteristics and evolution into account. It will provide the community with an unprecedented database with a high legacy value for protocluster clouds, filaments, cores, hot cores, outflows, inflows, and stellar clusters studies.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  3. ABSTRACT The feedback from young stars (i.e. pre-supernova) is thought to play a crucial role in molecular cloud destruction. In this paper, we assess the feedback mechanisms acting within a sample of 5810 H ii regions identified from the PHANGS-MUSE survey of 19 nearby (<20 Mpc) star-forming, main-sequence spiral galaxies [log(M⋆/M⊙) = 9.4–11]. These optical spectroscopic maps are essential to constrain the physical properties of the H ii regions, which we use to investigate their internal pressure terms. We estimate the photoionized gas (Ptherm), direct radiation (Prad), and mechanical wind pressure (Pwind), which we compare to the confining pressure of their host environment (Pde). The H ii regions remain unresolved within our ∼50–100 pc resolution observations, so we place upper (Pmax) and lower (Pmin) limits on each of the pressures by using a minimum (i.e. clumpy structure) and maximum (i.e. smooth structure) size, respectively. We find that the Pmax measurements are broadly similar, and for Pmin the Ptherm is mildly dominant. We find that the majority of H ii regions are overpressured, Ptot/Pde = (Ptherm + Pwind + Prad)/Pde > 1, and expanding, yet there is a small sample of compact H ii regions with Ptot,max/Pde < 1 (∼1 per cent of the sample). These mostly reside in galaxymore »centres (Rgal < 1 kpc), or, specifically, environments of high gas surface density; log(Σgas/M⊙ pc−2) ∼ 2.5 (measured on kpc-scales). Lastly, we compare to a sample of literature measurements for Ptherm and Prad to investigate how dominant pressure term transitions over around 5 dex in spatial dynamic range and 10 dex in pressure.« less
  4. ABSTRACT Both the CO(2–1) and CO(1–0) lines are used to trace the mass of molecular gas in galaxies. Translating the molecular gas mass estimates between studies using different lines requires a good understanding of the behaviour of the CO(2–1)-to-CO(1–0) ratio, R21. We compare new, high-quality CO(1–0) data from the IRAM 30-m EMIR MultiLine Probe of the ISM Regulating Galaxy Evolution survey to the latest available CO(2–1) maps from HERA CO-Line Extragalactic Survey, Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby Galaxies-ALMA, and a new IRAM 30-m M51 Large Program. This allows us to measure R21 across the full star-forming disc of nine nearby, massive, star-forming spiral galaxies at 27 arcsec (∼1–2 kpc) resolution. We find an average R21 = 0.64 ± 0.09 when we take the luminosity-weighted mean of all individual galaxies. This result is consistent with the mean ratio for disc galaxies that we derive from single-pointing measurements in the literature, $R_{\rm 21, lit}~=~0.59^{+0.18}_{-0.09}$. The ratio shows weak radial variations compared to the point-to-point scatter in the data. In six out of nine targets, the central enhancement in R21 with respect to the galaxy-wide mean is of order of ${\sim}10{-}20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$. We estimate an azimuthal scatter of ∼20 per cent in R21 at fixedmore »galactocentric radius but this measurement is limited by our comparatively coarse resolution of 1.5 kpc. We find mild correlations between R21 and carbon monoxide (CO) brightness temperature, infrared (IR) intensity, 70–160 µm ratio, and IR-to-CO ratio. All correlations indicate that R21 increases with gas surface density, star formation rate surface density, and the interstellar radiation field.« less
  5. It remains unclear what sets the efficiency with which molecular gas transforms into stars. Here we present a new VLA map of the spiral galaxy M 51 in 33 GHz radio continuum, an extinction-free tracer of star formation, at 3″ scales (∼100 pc). We combined this map with interferometric PdBI/NOEMA observations of CO(1–0) and HCN(1–0) at matched resolution for three regions in M 51 (central molecular ring, northern and southern spiral arm segments). While our measurements roughly fall on the well-known correlation between total infrared and HCN luminosity, bridging the gap between Galactic and extragalactic observations, we find systematic offsets from that relation for different dynamical environments probed in M 51; for example, the southern arm segment is more quiescent due to low star formation efficiency (SFE) of the dense gas, despite its high dense gas fraction. Combining our results with measurements from the literature at 100 pc scales, we find that the SFE of the dense gas and the dense gas fraction anti-correlate and correlate, respectively, with the local stellar mass surface density. This is consistent with previous kpc-scale studies. In addition, we find a significant anti-correlation between the SFE and velocity dispersion of the dense gas. Finally, wemore »confirm that a correlation also holds between star formation rate surface density and the dense gas fraction, but it is not stronger than the correlation with dense gas surface density. Our results are hard to reconcile with models relying on a universal gas density threshold for star formation and suggest that turbulence and galactic dynamics play a major role in setting how efficiently dense gas converts into stars.« less