Volume 518, July-August 2010
Herschel: the first science highlights
|Number of page(s)||4|
|Published online||16 July 2010|
Letter to the Editor
From high-mass starless cores to high-mass protostellar objects*
Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy, Königstuhl 17,
69117 Heidelberg, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 LERMA & UMR 8112 du CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, 61 Av. de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France
Accepted: 19 April 2010
Aims. Our aim is to understand the evolutionary sequence of high-mass star formation from the earliest evolutionary stage of high-mass starless cores, via high-mass cores with embedded low- to intermediate-mass objects, to finally high-mass protostellar objects.
Methods. Herschel far-infrared PACS and SPIRE observations are combined with existing data at longer and shorter wavelengths to characterize the spectral and physical evolution of massive star-forming regions.
Results. The new Herschel images spectacularly show the evolution of the youngest and cold high-mass star-forming regions from mid-infrared shadows on the Wien-side of the spectral energy distribution (SED), via structures almost lost in the background emission around 100 μm, to strong emission sources at the Rayleigh-Jeans tail. Fits of the SEDs for four exemplary regions covering evolutionary stages from high-mass starless cores to high-mass protostellar objects reveal that the youngest regions can be fitted by single-component black-bodies with temperatures on the order of 17 K. More evolved regions show mid-infrared excess emission from an additional warmer component, which however barely contributes to the total luminosities for the youngest regions. Exceptionally low values of the ratio between bolometric and submm luminosity additionally support the youth of the infrared-dark sources.
Conclusions. The Herschel observations reveal the spectral and physical properties of young high-mass star-forming regions in detail. The data clearly outline the evolutionary sequence in the images and SEDs. Future work on larger samples as well as incorporating full radiative transfer calculations will characterize the physical nature at the onset of massive star formation in even more depth.
Key words: stars: formation / stars: early-type / stars: individual: IRAS 18223-1243 / stars: evolution / stars: massive
© ESO, 2010
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