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  1. 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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  2. 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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    The internal velocity structure within dense gaseous cores plays a crucial role in providing the initial conditions for star formation in molecular clouds. However, the kinematic properties of dense gas at core scales (∼0.01−0.1 pc) has not been extensively characterized because of instrument limitations until the unique capabilities of GBT-Argus became available. The ongoing GBT-Argus Large Program, Dynamics in Star-forming Cores (DiSCo) thus aims to investigate the origin and distribution of angular momentum of star-forming cores. DiSCo will survey all starless cores and Class 0 protostellar cores in the Perseus molecular complex down to ∼0.01 pc scales with <0.05 km s−1 velocity resolution using the dense gas tracer N2H+. Here, we present the first data sets from DiSCo towards the B1 and NGC 1333 regions in Perseus. Our results suggest that a dense core’s internal velocity structure has little correlation with other core-scale properties, indicating these gas motions may be originated externally from cloud-scale turbulence. These first data sets also reaffirm the ability of GBT-Argus for studying dense core velocity structure and provided an empirical basis for future studies that address the angular momentum problem with a statistically broad sample.

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    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.

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  5. Abstract

    Characterizing the physical conditions at disk scales in class 0 sources is crucial for constraining the protostellar accretion process and the initial conditions for planet formation. We use ALMA 1.3 and 3 mm observations to investigate the physical conditions of the dust around the class 0 binary IRAS 16293–2422 A down to ∼10 au scales. The circumbinary material’s spectral index,α, has a median of 3.1 and a dispersion of ∼0.2, providing no firm evidence of millimeter-sized grains therein. Continuum substructures with brightness temperature peaks ofTb∼ 60–80 K at 1.3 mm are observed near the disks at both wavelengths. These peaks do not overlap with strong variations ofα, indicating that they trace high-temperature spots instead of regions with significant optical depth variations. The lower limits to the inferred dust temperature in the hot spots are 122, 87, and 49 K. Depending on the assumed dust opacity index, these values can be several times higher. They overlap with high gas temperatures and enhanced complex organic molecular emission. This newly resolved dust temperature distribution is in better agreement with the expectations from mechanical instead of the most commonly assumed radiative heating. In particular, we find that the temperatures agree with shock heating predictions. This evidence and recent studies highlighting accretion heating in class 0 disks suggest that mechanical heating (shocks, dissipation powered by accretion, etc.) is important during the early stages and should be considered when modeling and measuring properties of deeply embedded protostars and disks.

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  6. Abstract Prestellar cores represent the initial conditions in the process of star and planet formation. Their low temperatures (<10 K) allow the formation of thick icy dust mantles, which will be partially preserved in future protoplanetary disks, ultimately affecting the chemical composition of planetary systems. Previous observations have shown that carbon- and oxygen-bearing species, in particular CO, are heavily depleted in prestellar cores due to the efficient molecular freeze-out onto the surface of cold dust grains. However, N-bearing species such as NH 3 and, in particular, its deuterated isotopologues appear to maintain high abundances where CO molecules are mainly in the solid phase. Thanks to ALMA, we present here the first clear observational evidence of NH 2 D freeze-out toward the L1544 prestellar core, suggestive of the presence of a “complete depletion zone” within a ≃1800 au radius, in agreement with astrochemical prestellar core model predictions. Our state-of-the-art chemical model coupled with a non-LTE radiative transfer code demonstrates that NH 2 D becomes mainly incorporated in icy mantles in the central 2000 au and starts freezing out already at ≃7000 au. Radiative transfer effects within the prestellar core cause the NH 2 D(1 11 − 1 01 ) emission to appear centrally concentrated, with a flattened distribution within the central ≃3000 au, unlike the 1.3 mm dust continuum emission, which shows a clear peak within the central ≃1800 au. This prevented NH 2 D freeze-out from being detected in previous observations, where the central 1000 au cannot be spatially resolved. 
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