The Herschel view of the on-going star formation in the Vela-C molecular cloud

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201117811
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TypeArticle
Journal titleAstronomy & Astrophysics
ISSN0004-6361
1432-0746
Volume539
Article numberA156
Subjectindividual objects; Vela-C; clouds; stars; formation; submillimeter; circumstellar matter
AbstractAims. As part of the Herschel guaranteed time key programme “HOBYS”, we present the PACS and SPIRE photometric survey of the star-forming region Vela-C, one of the nearest sites of low-to-high-mass star formation in the Galactic plane. Our main objectives are to take a census of the cold sources and to derive their mass distribution down to a few solar masses. Methods. Vela-C was observed with PACS and SPIRE in parallel mode at five wavelengths between 70μm and 500μm over an area of about 3 square degrees. A photometric catalogue was extracted from the detections in each of the five bands, using a threshold of 5σ over the local background. Out of this catalogue we selected a robust sub-sample of 268 sources, of which ∼75% are cloud clumps (diameter between 0.05 pc and 0.13 pc) and 25% are cores (diameter between 0.025 pc and 0.05 pc). Their spectral energy distributions (SEDs) were fitted with a modified black body function. We classify 48 sources as protostellar, based on their detection at 70μm or at shorther wavelengths, and 218 as starless, because of non-detections at 70μm. For two other sources, we do not provide a secure classification, but suggest they are Class 0 protostars. Results. From the SED fitting we derived key physical parameters (i.e. mass, temperature, bolometric luminosity). Protostellar sources are in general warmer (T=12.8 K) and more compact (diameter=0.040 pc) than starless sources (T=10.3 K, diameter=0.067 pc). Both these findings can be ascribed to the presence of an internal source(s) of moderate heating, which also causes a temperature gradient and hence a more peaked intensity distribution. Moreover, the reduced dimensions of protostellar sources may indicate that they will not fragment further. A virial analysis of the starless sources gives an upper limit of 90% probability for the sources to be gravitationally bound and therefore prestellar in nature. A luminosity vs. mass diagram of the two populations shows that protostellar sources are in the early accretion phase, while prestellar sources populate a region of the diagram where mass accretion has not started yet. We fitted a power law N(log M) ∝ M−1.1±0.2 to the linear portion of the mass distribution of prestellar sources. This is in between that typical of CO clumps and those of cores in nearby star-forming regions. We i
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21268977
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Record identifier6a642dd1-b18e-4a24-8548-457162671672
Record created2013-11-28
Record modified2016-05-09
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