Volume 577, May 2015
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||21 May 2015|
Evolution of column density distributions within Orion A⋆,⋆⋆
Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Received: 2 April 2015
Accepted: 18 April 2015
We compare the structure of star-forming molecular clouds in different regions of Orion A to determine how the column density probability distribution function (N-PDF) varies with environmental conditions such as the fraction of young protostars. A correlation between the N-PDF slope and Class 0 protostar fraction has been previously observed in a low-mass star-formation region (Perseus); here we test whether a similar correlation is observed in a high-mass star-forming region. We used Herschel PACS and SPIRE cold dust emission observations to derive a column density map of Orion A. We used the Herschel Orion Protostar Survey catalog to accurately identify and classify the Orion A young stellar object content, including the cold and relatively short-lived Class 0 protostars (with a lifetime of ~0.14 Myr). We divided Orion A into eight independent regions of 0.25 square degrees (13.5 pc2); in each region we fit the N-PDF distribution with a power law, and we measured the fraction of Class 0 protostars. We used a maximum-likelihood method to measure the N-PDF power-law index without binning the column density data. We find that the Class 0 fraction is higher in regions with flatter column density distributions. We tested the effects of incompleteness, extinction-driven misclassification of Class 0 sources, resolution, and adopted pixel-scales. We show that these effects cannot account for the observed trend. Our observations demonstrate an association between the slope of the power-law N-PDF and the Class 0 fractions within Orion A. Various interpretations are discussed, including timescales based on the Class 0 protostar fraction assuming a constant star-formation rate. The observed relation suggests that the N-PDF can be related to an evolutionary state of the gas. If universal, such a relation permits evaluating the evolutionary state from the N-PDF power-law index at much greater distances than those accessible with protostar counts.
Key words: ISM: clouds / ISM: structure / stars: formation / ISM: individual objects: Orion A
Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
The N(H) map as a FITS file is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (188.8.131.52) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/577/L6
© ESO, 2015
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.