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Title: The dynamics of massive starless cores with ALMA

Abstract

How do stars that are more massive than the Sun form, and thus how is the stellar initial mass function (IMF) established? Such intermediate- and high-mass stars may be born from relatively massive pre-stellar gas cores, which are more massive than the thermal Jeans mass. The turbulent core accretion model invokes such cores as being in approximate virial equilibrium and in approximate pressure equilibrium with their surrounding clump medium. Their internal pressure is provided by a combination of turbulence and magnetic fields. Alternatively, the competitive accretion model requires strongly sub-virial initial conditions that then lead to extensive fragmentation to the thermal Jeans scale, with intermediate- and high-mass stars later forming by competitive Bondi-Hoyle accretion. To test these models, we have identified four prime examples of massive (∼100 M {sub ☉}) clumps from mid-infrared extinction mapping of infrared dark clouds. Fontani et al. found high deuteration fractions of N{sub 2}H{sup +} in these objects, which are consistent with them being starless. Here we present ALMA observations of these four clumps that probe the N{sub 2}D{sup +} (3-2) line at 2.''3 resolution. We find six N{sub 2}D{sup +} cores and determine their dynamical state. Their observed velocity dispersions and sizes are broadlymore » consistent with the predictions of the turbulent core model of self-gravitating, magnetized (with Alfvén Mach number m{sub A} ∼ 1) and virialized cores that are bounded by the high pressures of their surrounding clumps. However, in the most massive cores, with masses up to ∼60 M {sub ☉}, our results suggest that moderately enhanced magnetic fields (so that m{sub A} ≅ 0.3) may be needed for the structures to be in virial and pressure equilibrium. Magnetically regulated core formation may thus be important in controlling the formation of massive cores, inhibiting their fragmentation, and thus helping to establish the stellar IMF.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ;  [2];  [3];  [4]
  1. Departments of Astronomy and Physics, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 (United States)
  2. Department of Astronomy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 (United States)
  3. School of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT (United Kingdom)
  4. INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Enrico Fermi 5, I-50125 Firenze (Italy)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348479
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 779; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ALFVEN WAVES; APPROXIMATIONS; DEUTERATION; DISPERSIONS; DUSTS; EQUILIBRIUM; FORECASTING; FRAGMENTATION; MACH NUMBER; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MASS; RESOLUTION; SUN; TURBULENCE

Citation Formats

Tan, Jonathan C., Kong, Shuo, Butler, Michael J., Caselli, Paola, and Fontani, Francesco. The dynamics of massive starless cores with ALMA. United States: N. p., 2013. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/779/2/96.
Tan, Jonathan C., Kong, Shuo, Butler, Michael J., Caselli, Paola, & Fontani, Francesco. The dynamics of massive starless cores with ALMA. United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/779/2/96.
Tan, Jonathan C., Kong, Shuo, Butler, Michael J., Caselli, Paola, and Fontani, Francesco. 2013. "The dynamics of massive starless cores with ALMA". United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/779/2/96.
@article{osti_22348479,
title = {The dynamics of massive starless cores with ALMA},
author = {Tan, Jonathan C. and Kong, Shuo and Butler, Michael J. and Caselli, Paola and Fontani, Francesco},
abstractNote = {How do stars that are more massive than the Sun form, and thus how is the stellar initial mass function (IMF) established? Such intermediate- and high-mass stars may be born from relatively massive pre-stellar gas cores, which are more massive than the thermal Jeans mass. The turbulent core accretion model invokes such cores as being in approximate virial equilibrium and in approximate pressure equilibrium with their surrounding clump medium. Their internal pressure is provided by a combination of turbulence and magnetic fields. Alternatively, the competitive accretion model requires strongly sub-virial initial conditions that then lead to extensive fragmentation to the thermal Jeans scale, with intermediate- and high-mass stars later forming by competitive Bondi-Hoyle accretion. To test these models, we have identified four prime examples of massive (∼100 M {sub ☉}) clumps from mid-infrared extinction mapping of infrared dark clouds. Fontani et al. found high deuteration fractions of N{sub 2}H{sup +} in these objects, which are consistent with them being starless. Here we present ALMA observations of these four clumps that probe the N{sub 2}D{sup +} (3-2) line at 2.''3 resolution. We find six N{sub 2}D{sup +} cores and determine their dynamical state. Their observed velocity dispersions and sizes are broadly consistent with the predictions of the turbulent core model of self-gravitating, magnetized (with Alfvén Mach number m{sub A} ∼ 1) and virialized cores that are bounded by the high pressures of their surrounding clumps. However, in the most massive cores, with masses up to ∼60 M {sub ☉}, our results suggest that moderately enhanced magnetic fields (so that m{sub A} ≅ 0.3) may be needed for the structures to be in virial and pressure equilibrium. Magnetically regulated core formation may thus be important in controlling the formation of massive cores, inhibiting their fragmentation, and thus helping to establish the stellar IMF.},
doi = {10.1088/0004-637X/779/2/96},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
number = 2,
volume = 779,
place = {United States},
year = 2013,
month =
}
  • In order to understand the collapse dynamics of observed low-mass starless cores, we revise the conventional stability condition of hydrostatic Bonnor-Ebert spheres to take internal motions into account. Because observed starless cores resemble Bonnor-Ebert density structures, the stability and dynamics of the starless cores are frequently analyzed by comparing to the conventional stability condition of a hydrostatic Bonnor-Ebert sphere. However, starless cores are not hydrostatic but have observed internal motions. In this study, we take gaseous spheres with a homologous internal velocity field and derive stability conditions of the spheres utilizing a virial analysis. We propose two limiting models ofmore » spontaneous gravitational collapse: the collapse of critical Bonnor-Ebert spheres and uniform density spheres. The collapse of these two limiting models is intended to provide the lower and the upper limits, respectively, of the infall speeds for a given density structure. The results of our study suggest that the stability condition sensitively depends on internal motions. A homologous inward motion with a transonic speed can reduce the critical size compared to the static Bonnor-Ebert sphere by more than a factor of two. As an application of the two limiting models of spontaneous gravitational collapse, we compare the density structures and infall speeds of the observed starless cores L63, L1544, L1689B, and L694-2 to the two limiting models. L1689B and L694-2 seem to have been perturbed to result in faster infall motions than for spontaneous gravitational collapse.« less
  • Interpreting the nature of starless cores has been a prominent goal in star formation for many years. In order to characterize the evolutionary stages of these objects, we perform synthetic observations of a numerical simulation of a turbulent molecular cloud. We find that nearly all cores that we detect are associated with filaments and eventually form protostars. We conclude that observed starless cores that appear Jeans unstable are only marginally larger than their respective Jeans masses (within a factor of three). We note single dish observations such as those performed with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope appear to miss significantmore » core structure on small scales because of beam averaging. Finally, we predict that interferometric observations with Atacama Large Millimeter Array Cycle 1 will resolve the important small-scale structure, which has so far been missed by millimeter wavelength observations.« less
  • We present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observations of the submillimeter dust continuum and H{sub 2}D{sup +} 1{sub 10}-1{sub 11} emission toward two evolved, potentially protostellar cores within the Ophiuchus molecular cloud, Oph A SM1 and SM1N. The data reveal small-scale condensations within both cores, with mass upper limits of M ≲ 0.02 M {sub ☉} (∼20 M {sub Jup}). The SM1 condensation is consistent with a nearly symmetric Gaussian source with a width of only 37 AU. The SM1N condensation is elongated and extends 500 AU along its major axis. No evidence for substructure is seen in either source.more » A Jeans analysis indicates that these sources are unlikely to fragment, suggesting that both will form single stars. H{sub 2}D{sup +} is only detected toward SM1N, offset from the continuum peak by ∼150-200 AU. This offset may be due to either heating from an undetected, young, low-luminosity protostellar source or first hydrostatic core, or HD (and consequently H{sub 2}D{sup +}) depletion in the cold center of the condensation. We propose that SM1 is protostellar and that the condensation detected by ALMA is a warm (T ∼ 30-50 K) accretion disk. The less concentrated emission of the SM1N condensation suggests that it is still starless, but we cannot rule out the presence of a low-luminosity source, perhaps surrounded by a pseudodisk. These data observationally reveal the earliest stages of the formation of circumstellar accretion regions and agree with theoretical predictions that disk formation can occur very early in the star formation process, coeval with or just after the formation of a first hydrostatic core or protostar.« less
  • We develop the mid-infrared extinction (MIREX) mapping technique of Butler and Tan (Paper I), presenting a new method to correct for the Galactic foreground emission based on observed saturation in independent cores. Using Spitzer GLIMPSE 8 {mu}m images, this allows us to accurately probe mass surface densities, {Sigma}, up to {approx_equal} 0.5 g cm{sup -2} with 2'' resolution and mitigate one of the main sources of uncertainty associated with Galactic MIREX mapping. We then characterize the structure of 42 massive starless and early-stage cores and their surrounding clumps, selected from 10 infrared dark clouds, measuring {Sigma}{sub cl}(r) from the core/clumpmore » centers. We first assess the properties of the core/clump at a scale where the total enclosed mass as projected on the sky is M{sub cl} = 60 M{sub Sun }. We find that these objects have a mean radius of R{sub cl} {approx_equal} 0.1 pc, mean {Sigma}{sub cl} = 0.3 g cm{sup -} and, if fitted by a power-law (PL) density profile {rho}{sub cl}{proportional_to}r{sup -k{sub {rho}}{sub ,}{sub c}{sub l}}, a mean value of k{sub {rho},cl} = 1.1. If we assume a core is embedded in each clump and subtract the surrounding clump envelope to derive the core properties, then we find a mean core density PL index of k{sub {rho},c} = 1.6. We repeat this analysis as a function of radius and derive the best-fitting PL plus uniform clump envelope model for each of the 42 core/clumps. The cores have typical masses of M{sub c} {approx} 100 M{sub Sun} and {Sigma}-bar{sub c} {approx} 0.1 g cm{sup -2}, and are embedded in clumps with comparable mass surface densities. We also consider Bonnor-Ebert density models, but these do not fit the observed {Sigma} profiles as well as PLs. We conclude that massive starless cores exist and are well described by singular polytropic spheres. Their relatively low values of {Sigma} and the fact that they are IR dark may imply that their fragmentation is inhibited by magnetic fields rather than radiative heating. Comparing to massive star-forming cores and clumps, there is tentative evidence for an evolution toward higher densities and steeper density profiles as star formation proceeds.« less
  • In this paper, we present the results of Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy continuum and spectral line observations of the dense core Per-Bolo 45. Although this core has previously been classified as starless, we find evidence for an outflow and conclude that Per-Bolo 45 is actually an embedded, low-luminosity protostar. We discuss the impact of newly discovered, low-luminosity, embedded objects in the Perseus molecular cloud on starless core and protostar lifetimes. We estimate that the starless core lifetime has been overestimated by 4%-18% and the Class 0/I protostellar lifetime has been underestimated by 5%-20%. Given the relatively largemore » systematic uncertainties involved in these calculations, variations on the order of 10% do not significantly change either core lifetimes or the expected protostellar luminosity function. Finally, we suggest that high-resolution (sub)millimeter surveys of known cores lacking near-infrared and mid-infrared emission are necessary to make an accurate census of starless cores.« less