EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 392, Number 3, September IV 2002
Page(s) 1053 - 1068
Section Diffuse matter in space
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20020959
Published online 09 September 2002

A&A 392, 1053-1068 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20020959

Constraints on star formation theories from the Serpens molecular cloud and protocluster

L. Olmi1, 2 and L. Testi3

1  LMT/GTM Project, Dept. of Astronomy, 815J Lederle GRT Tower B, University of Massachusetts, 710 N. Pleasant st. Amherst, MA 01003-9305, USA
    e-mail: olmi@lmtgtm.org
2  Present address: University of Puerto Rico, Dept. of Physics, PO Box 23343 University Station, S. Juan PR 00931-3343, USA, and CNR - Istituto di Radioastronomia, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
3  Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
    e-mail: ltesti@arcetri.astro.it

(Received 9 January 2002 / Accepted 24 June 2002 )

We have mapped the large-scale structure of the Serpens cloud core using moderately optically thick ( 13CO(1-0) and CS(2-1)) and optically thin tracers (C 18O(1-0), C 34S(2-1), and N 2H +(1-0)), using the 16-element focal plane array operating at a wavelength of 3 mm at the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory. Our main goal was to study the large-scale distribution of the molecular gas in the Serpens region and

to understand its relation with the denser gas in the cloud cores, previously studied at high angular resolution. All our molecular tracers show two main gas condensations, or sub-clumps, roughly corresponding to the North-West and South-East clusters of submillimeter continuum sources. We also carried out a kinematical study of the Serpens cloud. The 13CO and C 18O(1-0) maps of the centroid velocity show an increasing, smooth gradient in velocity from East to West, which we think may be caused by a global rotation of the Serpens molecular cloud whose rotation axis is roughly aligned in the SN direction.

Although it appears that the cloud angular momentum is not sufficient for being dynamically important in the global evolution of the cluster, the fact that the observed molecular outflows are roughly aligned with it may suggest a link between the large-scale angular momentum and the circumstellar disks around individual protostars in the cluster. We also used the normalized centroid velocity difference as an infall indicator. We find two large regions of the map, approximately coincident with the SE and NW sub-clumps, which are undergoing an infalling motion.

Although our evidence is not conclusive, our data appear to be in qualitative agreement with the expectation of a slow contraction followed by a rapid and highly efficient star formation phase in localized high density regions.

Key words: ISM: molecules -- stars: formation -- radio lines: ISM

Offprint request: L. Olmi, olmi@naic.edu

SIMBAD Objects in preparation

© ESO 2002

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