The Mass Distribution of Starless and Protostellar Cores in Gould Belt Clouds

February 2010 • 2010ApJ...710.1247S

Authors • Sadavoy, Sarah I. • Di Francesco, James • Bontemps, Sylvain • Megeath, S. Thomas • Rebull, Luisa M. • Allgaier, Erin • Carey, Sean • Gutermuth, Robert • Hora, Joe • Huard, Tracy • McCabe, Caer-Eve • Muzerolle, James • Noriega-Crespo, Alberto • Padgett, Deborah • Terebey, Susan

Abstract • Using data from the SCUBA Legacy Catalogue (850 μm) and Spitzer Space Telescope (3.6-70 μm), we explore dense cores in the Ophiuchus, Taurus, Perseus, Serpens, and Orion molecular clouds. We develop a new method to discriminate submillimeter cores found by Submillimeter Common-User Bolometer Array (SCUBA) as starless or protostellar, using point source photometry from Spitzer wide field surveys. First, we identify infrared sources with red colors associated with embedded young stellar objects (YSOs). Second, we compare the positions of these YSO candidates to our submillimeter cores. With these identifications, we construct new, self-consistent starless and protostellar core mass functions (CMFs) for the five clouds. We find best-fit slopes to the high-mass end of the CMFs of -1.26 ± 0.20, -1.22 ± 0.06, -0.95 ± 0.20, and -1.67 ± 0.72 for Ophiuchus, Taurus, Perseus, and Orion, respectively. Broadly, these slopes are each consistent with the -1.35 power-law slope of the Salpeter initial mass function at higher masses, but suggest some differences. We examine a variety of trends between these CMF shapes and their parent cloud properties, potentially finding a correlation between the high-mass slope and core temperature. We also find a trend between core mass and effective size, but we are very limited by sensitivity. We make similar comparisons between core mass and size with visual extinction (for AV >= 3) and find no obvious trends. We also predict the numbers and mass distributions of cores that future surveys with SCUBA-2 may detect in each of these clouds.


IPAC Authors

Sean Carey

Senior Scientist


Luisa Rebull

Senior Research Scientist