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Published September 10, 2007 | Published
Journal Article Open

Comparing star formation on large scales in the c2d legacy clouds: Bolocam 1.1 mm dust continuum surveys of Serpens, Perseus, and Ophiuchus


We have undertaken an unprecedentedly large 1.1 mm continuum survey of three nearby star-forming clouds using Bolocam at the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory. We mapped the largest areas in each cloud at millimeter or submillimeter wavelengths to date: 7.5 deg2 in Perseus (Enoch and coworkers), 10.8 deg^2 in Ophiuchus (Young and coworkers), and 1.5 deg2 in Serpens with a resolution of 31", detecting 122, 44, and 35 cores, respectively. Here we report on results of the Serpens survey and compare the three clouds. Average measured angular core sizes and their dependence on resolution suggest that many of the observed sources are consistent with power-law density profiles. Tests of the effects of cloud distance reveal that linear resolution strongly affects measured source sizes and densities, but not the shape of the mass distribution. Core mass distribution slopes in Perseus and Ophiuchus (α = 2.1 ± 0.1 and 2.1 ± 0.3) are consistent with recent measurements of the stellar IMF, whereas the Serpens distribution is flatter (α = 1.6 ± 0.2). We also compare the relative mass distribution shapes to predictions from turbulent fragmentation simulations. Dense cores constitute less than 10% of the total cloud mass in all three clouds, consistent with other measurements of low star formation efficiencies. Furthermore, most cores are found at high column densities; more than 75% of 1.1 mm cores are associated with AV ~> 8 mag in Perseus, 15 mag in Serpens, and 20-23 mag in Ophiuchus.

Additional Information

© 2007 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2006 November 4; accepted 2007 May 22. The authors are grateful to Paul Harvey, Yancy Shirley, and the anonymous referee for comments that significantly improved this work. We would like to thank members of the Bolocam team for instrumental and software support, including James Aguirre, Jack Sayers, Glenn Laurent, and Sunil Golwala. We also thank the Lorentz Center in Leiden for hosting several meetings that contributed to this paper. Support for this work, part of the Spitzer Legacy Science Program, was provided by NASA through contracts 1224608 and 1230782 issued by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under NASA contract 1407. Bolocam was built and commissioned under grants NSF/ AST 96-18798 and NSF/AST 00-98737. K. E. Y. was supported by NASA under grant NGT5-50401, issued through the Office of Space Science. Additional support came from NASA Origins grant NNG04GG24G to N. J. E. and NSF grant AST 02-06158 to J. G. Finally, M. L. E. acknowledges support of a Moore Fellowship and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

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