Volume 648, April 2021
|Number of page(s)||15|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||20 April 2021|
Fragmentation in the massive G31.41+0.31 protocluster★
INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri,
Largo E. Fermi 5,
2 Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Ctra. de Ajalvir Km. 4, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid, Spain
3 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
4 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
5 Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
6 Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, B18N, allée Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 33615 Pessac, France
7 Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, The University of Manchester, Alan Turing Building, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
8 Department of Astrophysics, Institute for Mathematics, Astrophysics and Particle Physics (IMAPP), Radboud University, PO Box 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
9 UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh EH9 3HJ, UK
10 Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 10, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
11 Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço, Universidade do Porto, CAUP, Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762, Porto, Portugal
12 Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85748 Garching, Germany
13 I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln, Zülpicher Str. 77, 50937 Köln, Germany
14 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
15 SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Landleven 12, 9747 AD Groningen, The Netherlands
16 Department of Earth and Space science, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, 695 547, India
17 Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Avda. Pedro de Valdivia 425, Providencia, Santiago de Chile, Chile
Accepted: 4 March 2021
Context. ALMA observations at 1.4 mm and ~0.′′2 (~750 au) angular resolution of the Main core in the high-mass star-forming region G31.41+0.31 have revealed a puzzling scenario. On the one hand, the continuum emission looks very homogeneous and the core appears to undergo solid-body rotation, suggesting a monolithic core stabilized by the magnetic field; on the other hand, rotation and infall speed up toward the core center, where two massive embedded free-free continuum sources have been detected, pointing to an unstable core having undergone fragmentation.
Aims. To establish whether the Main core is indeed monolithic or if its homogeneous appearance is due to a combination of large dust opacity and low angular resolution, we carried out millimeter observations at higher angular resolution and different wavelengths.
Methods. We carried out ALMA observations at 1.4 mm and 3.5 mm that achieved angular resolutions of ~0.′′1 (~375 au) and ~0.′′075 (~280 au), respectively. VLA observations at 7 mm and 1.3 cm at even higher angular resolution, ~0.′′05 (~190 au) and ~0.′′07 (~260 au), respectively, were also carried out to better study the nature of the free-free continuum sources detected in the core.
Results. The millimeter continuum emission of the Main core has been clearly resolved into at least four sources, A, B, C, and D, within 1″, indicating that the core is not monolithic. The deconvolved radii of the dust emission of the sources, estimated at 3.5 mm, are ~400–500 au; their masses range from ~15 to ~26 M⊙; and their number densities are several 109 cm−3. Sources A and B, located closer to the center of the core and separated by ~750 au, are clearly associated with two free-free continuum sources, likely thermal radio jets, and are brightest in the core. The spectral energy distribution of these two sources and their masses and sizes are similar and suggest a common origin. Source C has not been detected at centimeter wavelengths, while source D has been clearly detected at 1.3 cm. Source D is likely the driving source of an E–W SiO outflow previously detected in the region, which suggests that the free-free emission might be coming from a radio jet.
Conclusions. The observations have confirmed that the Main core in G31 is collapsing, that it has undergone fragmentation, and that its homogeneous appearance previously observed at short wavelengths is a consequence of both high dust opacity and insufficient angular resolution. The low level of fragmentation together with the fact that the core is moderately magnetically supercritical, suggests that G31 could have undergone a phase of magnetically regulated evolution characterized by a reduced fragmentation efficiency, eventually leading to the formation of a small number of relatively massive dense cores.
Key words: ISM: individual objects: G31.41+0.31 / stars: formation / stars: massive / techniques: interferometric
The reduced images (FITS files) are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (126.96.36.199) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/cat/J/A+A/648/A100
© ESO 2021
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