Characterizing star formation activity in infrared dark cloud MSXDC G048.65-00.29
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
Accepted: 13 July 2008
Context. Infrared dark clouds (IRDCs), condensed regions of the ISM with high column densities, low temperatures and high masses, are suspected sites of star formation. Thousands of IRDCs have already been identified. To date, it has not been resolved whether IRDCs always show star formation activity and, if so, if massive star formation (≳ 8 ) is the rule or the exception in IRDCs.
Aims. Previous analysis of sub-millimeter cores in the cloud MSXDC G048.65-00.29 (G48.65) indicates embedded star formation activity. To characterize this activity in detail, mid-infrared photometry (3–30 μm) has been obtained with the Spitzer Space Telescope. This paper analyzes the point sources seen in the 24 μm band, combined with counterparts or upper limits at shorter and longer wavelengths.
Methods. Data points in wavelength bands ranging from 1 μm up to 850 μm (Spitzer IRAC, MIPS 24 and 70 μm, archival 2MASS data and sub-millimeter counterparts) are used to compare each 24 μm source to a set of Spectral Energy Distributions of Young Stellar Object (YSO) models. By assessing the models that fit the data, an attempt is made to identify YSOs as such and determine their evolutionary stages and stellar masses.
Results. A total of 17 sources are investigated, 13 of which are classified as YSOs, primarily – but not exclusively – in an early embedded phase of star formation. The modeled masses of the central stellar objects range from sub-solar to ~8 . Every YSO is at less than 1 pc projected distance from its nearest YSO neighbor.
Conclusions. IRDC G48.65 is a region of active star formation. We find YSOs in various evolutionary phases, indicating that the star formation in this cloud is not an instantaneous process. The inferred masses of the central objects suggest that this IRDC hosts only low to intermediate mass YSOs and none with masses exceeding ~8 .
Key words: stars: pre-main sequence / stars: formation / ISM: clouds / ISM: individual objects: MSXDC G048.65-00.29
© ESO, 2008