EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 415, Number 2, February IV 2004
Page(s) 617 - 625
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20031640
Published online 11 February 2004

A&A 415, 617-625 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20031640

Monte Carlo radiative transfer in molecular cloud cores

J. Gonçalves1, 2, D. Galli2 and M. Walmsley2

1  Centro de Astronomia e Astrofísica da Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-018 Lisboa, Portugal
2  INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy

(Received 15 August 2003 / Accepted 21 October 2003 )

We present the results of a three-dimensional Monte Carlo radiative transfer code for starless molecular cloud cores heated by an external isotropic or non-isotropic interstellar radiation field. The code computes the dust temperature distribution inside model clouds with specified but arbitrary density profiles. In particular we examine in detail spherical (Bonnor-Ebert) clouds, axisymmetric and non-axisymmetric toroids, and clouds heated by an external stellar source in addition to the general interstellar field. For these configurations, the code also computes maps of the emergent intensity at different wavelengths and arbitrary viewing angle, that can be compared directly with continuum maps of prestellar cores. In the approximation where the dust temperature is independent of interactions with the gas and where the gas is heated both by collisions with dust grains and ionization by cosmic rays, the temperature distribution of the gas is also calculated. For cloud models with parameters typical of dense cores, the results show that the dust temperature decreases monotonically from a maximum value near the cloud's edge (14-15 K) to a minimum value at the cloud's center (6-7 K). Conversely, the gas temperature varies in a similar range, but, due to efficient dust-gas coupling in the inner regions and inefficient cosmic-ray heating in the outer regions, the gradient is non-monotonic and the gas temperature reaches a maximum value at intermediate radii. The emission computed for these models (at 350  $\mu$m and 1.3 mm) shows that deviations from spherical symmetry in the density and/or temperature distributions are generally reduced in the simulated intensity maps (even without beam convolution), especially at the longer wavelengths.

Key words: radiative transfer -- ISM: clouds, dust, extinction

Offprint request: J. Gonçalves, goncalve@arcetri.astro.it

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