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How Many Infrared Dark Clouds Can form Massive Stars and Clusters?

Kauffmann, Jens and Pillai, Thushara (2010) How Many Infrared Dark Clouds Can form Massive Stars and Clusters? Astrophysical Journal Letters, 723 (1). L7-L12. ISSN 2041-8205.

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We present a new assessment of the ability of Infrared Dark Clouds (IRDCs) to form massive stars and clusters. This is done by comparison with an empirical mass-size threshold for massive star formation (MSF). We establish m(r)>870 M_☉(r/pc)^(1.33) as a novel approximate MSF limit, based on clouds with and without MSF. Many IRDCs, if not most, fall short of this threshold. Without significant evolution, such clouds are unlikely MSF candidates. This provides a first quantitative assessment of the small number of IRDCs evolving toward MSF. IRDCs below this limit might still form stars and clusters of up to intermediate mass, though (like, e.g., the Ophiuchus and Perseus Molecular Clouds). Nevertheless, a major fraction of the mass contained in IRDCs might reside in few 10^2 clouds sustaining MSF.

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Additional Information:© 2010 American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 April 15; accepted 2010 September 16; published 2010 October 7. We are indebted to a careful referee, who helped to significantly improve the text. This research was supported by an appointment of J.K. to the NASA Postdoctoral Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities through a contract with NASA. It was excuted at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
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NASA Postdoctoral ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:ISM: clouds; methods: data analysis; stars: formation
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:PACS: 98.38.Dq; 97.10.Bt; 98.20.-d; 98.35.Pr
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20101206-095653368
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Official Citation:Jens Kauffmann and Thushara Pillai 2010 ApJ 723 L7 doi: 10.1088/2041-8205/723/1/L7
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:21168
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:07 Dec 2010 21:15
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 02:20

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