The mass distribution of protostellar and starless cores in Gould Belt clouds




Sadavoy, Sarah I.

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Using data from the SCUBA Legacy Catalogue (850 µm) and Spitzer (3.6 - 70 µm), we explore dense cores in the Ophiuchus, Taurus, Perseus, Serpens, and Orion molecular clouds. In particular, we focus on identifying which cores host young stars while others remain starless. Understanding the nature of star formation and the influence of local environment will give us insight into several key properties, such as the origin of stellar mass. Here, we present starless and protostellar core mass functions (CMFs) for the five clouds. We develop a new method to discriminate starless from protostellar cores, using Spitzer colours and positions. We found best-fit slopes to the high-mass end of −1.26±0.20, −1.22±0.06, −0.95±0.20, and −1.85±0.53 for Ophiuchus, Taurus, Perseus, and Orion, respectively. We were unable to fit a slope to our fifth cloud, Serpens. Broadly, these slopes are consistent with the −1.35 power-law seen in the Salpeter IMF, but suggest some differences. We examined a variety of trends between these CMF shapes and their parent cloud properties, potentially finding a correlation between the high-mass slope and temperature. We also attempt to predict what future surveys with SCUBA-2 will detect in each of our clouds.



Star formation, molecular clouds, initial mass function, dust