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Published July 1, 2008 | Published
Journal Article Open

The Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (BLAST) 2005: A 4 deg2 Galactic Plane Survey in Vulpecula (ell = 59°)


We present the first results from a new 250, 350, and 500 μm Galactic plane survey taken with the Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (BLAST) in 2005. This survey's primary goal is to identify and characterize high-mass protostellar objects (HMPOs). The region studied here covers 4 deg^2 near the open cluster NGC 6823 in the constellation Vulpecula (ℓ = 59°). We find 60 compact sources (<60'' diameter) detected simultaneously in all three bands. Their SEDs are constrained through BLAST, IRAS, Spitzer MIPS, and MSX photometry, with inferred dust temperatures spanning ~12-40 K assuming a dust emissivity index β = 1.5. The luminosity-to-mass ratio, a distance-independent quantity, spans ~0.2-130 L_☉ M^(−1)_☉. Distances are estimated from coincident ^(13)CO(1→ 0) velocities combined with a variety of other velocity and morphological data in the literature. In total, 49 sources are associated with a molecular cloud complex encompassing NGC 6823 (distance ~2.3 kpc), 10 objects with the Perseus arm (~8.5 kpc), and one object is probably in the outer Galaxy (~14 kpc). Near NGC 6823, the inferred luminosities and masses of BLAST sources span ~40-10^4 L_☉ and ~15-700 M_☉, respectively. The mass spectrum is compatible with molecular gas masses in other high-mass star-forming regions. Several luminous sources appear to be ultracompact H II regions powered by early B stars. However, many of the objects are cool, massive gravitationally bound clumps with no obvious internal radiation from a protostar, and hence excellent HMPO candidates.

Additional Information

© 2008 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2007 May 29, accepted for publication 2007 October 26. The BLAST collaboration acknowledges the support of NASA through grants NAG5-12785, NAG5-13301, and NNGO-6GI11G, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT), and Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).We would also like to thank the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) staff for their outstanding work. We thank Andy Gibb for helpful discussions. We also thank the anonymous referee for useful comments. L. O. acknowledges partial support by the Puerto Rico Space Grant Consortium and by the Fondo Institucional para la Investigacion of the University of Puerto Rico, and also thanks students Carlos M. Poventud and Jorge L.Morales for assistance with the analysis. C. B. N. acknowledges support from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. D. H. H. acknowledges the support of Consejo Nacional de Cienciay Technologıa (CONACYt) grant 39953-F. This research has been enabled by the use of WestGrid computing resources.

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