The luminosities of protostars in the Spitzer c2d and Gould Belt legacy clouds

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1088/0004-6256/145/4/94
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TypeArticle
Journal titleThe Astronomical Journal
ISSN0004-6256
Volume145
Issue4
Article number94
AbstractMotivated by the long-standing "luminosity problem" in low-mass star formation whereby protostars are underluminous compared to theoretical expectations, we identify 230 protostars in 18 molecular clouds observed by two Spitzer Space Telescope Legacy surveys of nearby star-forming regions. We compile complete spectral energy distributions, calculate Lbol for each source, and study the protostellar luminosity distribution. This distribution extends over three orders of magnitude, from 0.01 L☉ to 69 L☉, and has a mean and median of 4.3 L☉ and 1.3 L☉, respectively. The distributions are very similar for Class 0 and Class I sources except for an excess of low luminosity (Lbol ≲ 0.5 L☉) Class I sources compared to Class 0. 100 out of the 230 protostars (43%) lack any available data in the far-infrared and submillimeter (70 μm <λ < 850 μm) and have Lbol underestimated by factors of 2.5 on average, and up to factors of 8-10 in extreme cases. Correcting these underestimates for each source individually once additional data becomes available will likely increase both the mean and median of the sample by 35%-40%. We discuss and compare our results to several recent theoretical studies of protostellar luminosities and show that our new results do not invalidate the conclusions of any of these studies. As these studies demonstrate that there is more than one plausible accretion scenario that can match observations, future attention is clearly needed. The better statistics provided by our increased data set should aid such future work.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Science Infrastructure; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21270373
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Record identifier6fd9a1ac-e575-4c42-81a3-dc1382463e38
Record created2014-02-05
Record modified2016-05-09
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