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ALMA-IRDC: Dense gas mass distribution from cloud to core scales

Barnes, AT, Henshaw, JD, Fontani, F, Pineda, JE, Cosentino, G, Tan, JC, Caselli, P, Jiménez-Serra, I, Law, CY, Avison, A, Bigiel, F, Feng, S, Kong, S, Longmore, SN, Moser, L, Parker, RJ, Sánchez-Monge, Á and Wang, K (2021) ALMA-IRDC: Dense gas mass distribution from cloud to core scales. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 503 (3). pp. 4601-4626. ISSN 0035-8711

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Infrared dark clouds (IRDCs) are potential hosts of the elusive early phases of high-mass star formation (HMSF). Here we conduct an in-depth analysis of the fragmentation properties of a sample of 10 IRDCs, which have been highlighted as some of the best candidates to study HMSF within the Milky Way. To do so, we have obtained a set of large mosaics covering these IRDCs with ALMA at band 3 (or 3mm). These observations have a high angular resolution (~3arcsec or ~0.05pc), and high continuum and spectral line sensitivity (~0.15mJy/beam and ~0.2K per 0.1km/s channel at the N2H+(1-0) transition). From the dust continuum emission, we identify 96 cores ranging from low- to high-mass (M = 3.4 to 50.9Msun) that are gravitationally bound (alpha_vir = 0.3 to 1.3) and which would require magnetic field strengths of B = 0.3 to 1.0mG to be in virial equilibrium. We combine these results with a homogenised catalogue of literature cores to recover the hierarchical structure within these clouds over four orders of magnitude in spatial scale (0.01pc to 10pc). Using supplementary observations at an even higher angular resolution, we find that the smallest fragments (<0.02pc) within this hierarchy do not currently have the mass and/or the density required to form high-mass stars. Nonetheless, the new ALMA observations presented in this paper have facilitated the identification of 19 (6 quiescent and 13 star-forming) cores that retain >16Msun without further fragmentation. These high-mass cores contain trans-sonic non-thermal motions, are kinematically sub-virial, and require moderate magnetic field strengths for support against collapse. The identification of these potential sites of high-mass star formation represents a key step in allowing us to test the predictions from high-mass star and cluster formation theories.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2021The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: astro-ph.GA; astro-ph.GA; astro-ph.SR
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2021 10:57
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 05:41
DOI or ID number: 10.1093/mnras/stab803
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14705
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