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ALMA Observations of Massive Clouds in the Central Molecular Zone: Jeans Fragmentation and Cluster Formation

Lu, X, Cheng, Y, Ginsburg, A, Longmore, SN, Kruijssen, JMD, Battersby, C, Zhang, Q and Walker, DL (2020) ALMA Observations of Massive Clouds in the Central Molecular Zone: Jeans Fragmentation and Cluster Formation. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 894 (2). ISSN 2041-8205

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We report ALMA Band 6 continuum observations of 2000 AU resolution toward four massive molecular clouds in the Central Molecular Zone of the Galaxy. To study gas fragmentation, we use the dendrogram method to identify cores as traced by the dust continuum emission. The four clouds exhibit different fragmentation states at the observed resolution despite having similar masses at the cloud scale ($\sim$1--5 pc). Assuming a constant dust temperature of 20 K, we construct core mass functions of the clouds and find a slightly top-heavy shape as compared to the canonical initial mass function, but we note several significant uncertainties that may affect this result. The characteristic spatial separation between the cores as identified by the minimum spanning tree method, $\sim$$10^4$ AU, and the characteristic core mass, 1--7 $M_\odot$, are consistent with predictions of thermal Jeans fragmentation. The three clouds showing fragmentation may be forming OB associations (stellar mass $\sim$$10^3$ $M_\odot$). None of the four clouds under investigation seem to be currently able to form massive star clusters like the Arches and the Quintuplet ($\sim$$10^4$ $M_\odot$), but they may form such clusters by further gas accretion onto the cores.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: astro-ph.GA; astro-ph.GA
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: American Astronomical Society; IOP Publishing
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2020 09:17
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 07:23
DOI or ID number: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab8b65
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12833
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