Wednesday, June 5, 2013

1306.0547 (Q. Nguyen Luong et al.)

Low-velocity shocks traced by extended SiO emission along the W43 ridges: witnessing the formation of young massive clusters    [PDF]

Q. Nguyen Luong, F. Motte, P. Carlhoff, F. Louvet, P. Lesaffre, P. Schilke, T. Hill, M. Hennemann, A. Gusdorf, N. Schneider, S. Bontemps, A. Duarte-Cabral, K. M. Menten, P. G. Martin, F. Wyrowski, G. Bendo, H. Roussel, J-P. Bernard, L. Bronfman, T. Henning, C. Kramer, F. Heitsch
The formation of high-mass stars is tightly linked to that of their parental clouds. We here focus on the high-density parts of W43, a molecular cloud undergoing an efficient event of formation. The cloud structure is studied with a column density image derived from Herschel continuum maps obtained at 70, 160, 250, 350, and 500 micron. We identify two high-column density filamentary clouds, quoted as the W43-MM1 and W43-MM2 ridges, which both account for 1.5x10^4 Msun gas mass above 10^23 cm-2 and within areas of 5 and 14pc^2, respectively. We used the N_2H^+ 1--0 line to confirm that the W43-MM1 and W43-MM2 ridges are structures coherent in velocity and gravitationally bound, despite their large velocity dispersion and ~5 kms line widths. The most intriguing result of the W43 large program is the bright wide-spread SiO 2--1 emission: 1--11 K kms$ stretching an area of ~28 pc^2. Concentrated toward the W43-MM1 and W43-MM2 ridges and their immediate surroundings, it leads to a total luminosity of L_SiO 2-1 ~4 10^4 K kms kpc^2pc^2. We measured a steep relation between the luminosity and velocity extent of the SiO~2--1 lines and propose to use it to distinguish the low-velocity shocks observed here from the more classical high-velocity ones associated with outflows of high-mass young stellar objects. We used state-of-the-art shock models to demonstrate that low-velocity (<10 kms^-1) shocks with a small amount (10%) of Si atoms initially in gas phase or in grain mantles can explain the observed SiO column density in W43. The spatial and velocity overlaps between the ridges high-density gas (n_H2>10^4-10^5 cm^-3) and the shocked SiO gas suggests that ridges could be forming via colliding flows driven by gravity and accompanied by low-velocity shocks. This mechanism may be the initial conditions for the formation of young massive clusters in these ridges.
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