The Pipe Nebula: Primordial conditions of a quiescent molecular cloud

We present the results of a new deep, near-infrared survey of the essentially starless Pipe Nebula, combining data from ESO, Calar Alto, and SPITZER telescopes, and the 2MASS survey. We use this new high sensitivity data set to construct dust extinction maps with spatial resolutions one order of magnitude smaller that the local Jeans Length. Our maps allowed us to determine the structure of the cloud down to and below the scale of dense pre-stellar cores, and to construct radial density profiles for over one hundred cores, which we compare with models of isothermal spheres to obtain their physical properties. As the Pipe Nebula is one of the youngest and closest molecular clouds, our data opens the gate to understand with unprecedented detail the primordial conditions and early evolution of a mostly quiescent molecular cloud towards star formation, including core formation, core spatial distribution and mass function, and their evolution toward collapse.


30/09/2010 - 14:00
Carlos Román Zúñiga
Centro Astronómico Hispano Alemán