EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 401, Number 1, April I 2003
Page(s) 227 - 242
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030116

A&A 401, 227-242 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030116

Anatomy of a high-mass star forming cloud: The G24.78+0.08 (proto)stellar cluster

R. Cesaroni1, C. Codella2, R. S. Furuya1 and L. Testi1

1  Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, INAF, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
2  Istituto di Radioastronomia, CNR, Sezione di Firenze, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy

(Received 31 October 2002 / Accepted 21 January 2003 )

We present the results of an interferometric and single-dish study of G24.78+0.08, a region associated with high-mass star formation. Observations have been carried out in several molecular species, which are suitable to trace environments with different densities and temperatures. Evidence for this region to contain a cluster of very young massive stellar objects has been presented in a previous paper (Furuya et al. 2002). We suggest that the embedded stars might be too young to have affected the surrounding molecular cloud significantly on a large scale. This gives us the opportunity to investigate the configuration of the cloud as it was prior to the star formation episode. We assess that the (proto)stellar cluster lies at the center of a molecular clump with diameter of ~2 pc: to a good approximation this may be described as a spherically symmetric clump with density profile of the type $n_{\rm H_2}\propto R^{-1.8}$. Inside 0.5 pc from the center, instead, the gas is much more inhomogeneous and concentrated in a few high-density cores surrounding the (proto)stars. Our findings indicate that a self-regulating formation mechanism for the high-mass stars in G24.78 is plausible: in the proposed scenario star formation would occur from inside-out collapse of the parsec-scale clump, followed by infall reversal due to outflows powered by the newly formed massive stars. We also find that one of the two bipolar outflows powered by the embedded YSOs is more extended and hence older than the other, thus confirming the evolutionary sequence proposed in our previous article. - ISM: molecules

Key words: stars: formation -- radio lines: ISM -- ISM: individual objects: G24.78+0.08

Offprint request: R. Cesaroni, cesa@arcetri.astro.it

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