Friday, July 19, 2013

1307.4932 (A. Giannetti et al.)

Physical properties of high-mass clumps in different stages of evolution    [PDF]

A. Giannetti, J. Brand, A. Sanchez-Monge, F. Fontani, R. Cesaroni, M. T. Beltran, S. Molinari, R. Dodson, M. J. Rioja
(Abridged) Aims. To investigate the first stages of the process of high-mass star formation, we selected a sample of massive clumps previously observed with the SEST at 1.2 mm and with the ATNF ATCA at 1.3 cm. We want to characterize the physical conditions in such sources, and test whether their properties depend on the evolutionary stage of the clump. Methods. With ATCA we observed the selected sources in the NH3(1,1) and (2,2) transitions and in the 22 GHz H2O maser line. Ammonia lines are a good temperature probe that allow us to accurately determine the mass and the column-, volume-, and surface densities of the clumps. We also collected all data available to construct the spectral energy distribution of the individual clumps and to determine if star formation is already occurring, through observations of its most common signposts, thus putting constraints on the evolutionary stage of the source. We fitted the spectral energy distribution between 1.2 mm and 70 microns with a modified black body to derive the dust temperature and independently determine the mass. Results. The clumps are cold (T~10-30 K), massive (M~10^2-10^3 Mo), and dense (n(H2)>~10^5 cm^-3) and they have high column densities (N(H2)~10^23 cm^-2). All clumps appear to be potentially able to form high-mass stars. The most massive clumps appear to be gravitationally unstable, if the only sources of support against collapse are turbulence and thermal pressure, which possibly indicates that the magnetic field is important in stabilizing them. Conclusions. After investigating how the average properties depend on the evolutionary phase of the source, we find that the temperature and central density progressively increase with time. Sources likely hosting a ZAMS star show a steeper radial dependence of the volume density and tend to be more compact than starless clumps.
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