L1506: a prestellar core in the making*
LERMA & UMR 8112 du CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, 61 Av. de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 CESR & UMR 5187 du CNRS/Université de Toulouse, 9 Av. du Colonel Roche, BP 4346, 31028 Toulouse Cedex 4, France e-mail: [ristorcelli;giard;bernard]@cesr.fr
3 IAS, Bât. 121, Université Paris-Sud, 91435 Orsay, France e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 2 December 2009
Context. Exploring the structure and dynamics of cold starless clouds is necessary to understand the different steps leading to the formation of protostars. Because clouds evolve slowly, many of them must be studied in detail to identify different moments in a cloud's lifetime.
Methods. To trace the mass content of L1506C and its kinematics, we mapped the dust emission, and the line emission of two key species, C18O and N2H+. We also observed 13CO and C17O. We model the species emission using 1D Monte Carlo models.
Results. This cloud is reminiscent of L1498 but also exhibits peculiar features: i) a large envelope emitting solely in 13CO that contains a much smaller core with strong C18O depletion at its centre despite a low maximum opacity (AV ~ 20 mag); ii) extremely narrow C18O lines indicating a low, non-measurable turbulence; iii) contraction traced by C18O itself (plus rotation); iv) unexpectedly, the kinematical signature of the external envelope is opposite to that of the core, the 13CO and C18O velocity gradients having opposite directions and the C18O line profile being blue peaked in contrast to the 13CO one which is red peaked. The core is large (r = 3 × 104 AU) and not very dense (n(H2) ≤ 5 × 104 cm-3, possibly less). This core is therefore not yet prestellar.
Conclusions. All these properties imply that the core is kinematically detached from its envelope and in the process of forming a prestellar core. This is the first time that the dynamical formation of a prestellar core has been witnessed. The extremely low turbulence could explain the strong depletion of this core despite its relatively low density and opacity in contrast to undepleted cores such as L1521E, which exhibits a turbulence at least 4 times as high.
Key words: stars: formation / ISM: clouds / ISM: abundances / ISM: molecules / ISM: structure / ISM: individual objects: L1506
© ESO, 2010