The Spitzer Gould Belt Survey of Large Nearby Interstellar Clouds: Discovery of a Dense Embedded Cluster in the Serpens-Aquila Rift
We report the discovery of a nearby, embedded cluster of young stellar objects, associated filamentary infrared dark cloud, and 4.5 μm shock emission knots from outflows detected in Spitzer IRAC mid-infrared imaging of the Serpens-Aquila Rift obtained as part of the Spitzer Gould Belt Legacy Survey. We also present radial velocity measurements of the region from molecular line observations obtained with the Submillimeter Array (SMA) that suggest the cluster is comoving with the Serpens Main embedded cluster 3° to the north. We therefore assign it the same distance, 260 pc. The core of the new cluster, which we call Serpens South, is composed of an unusually large fraction of protostars (77%) at high mean surface density (>430 pc-2) and short median nearest neighbor spacing (3700 AU). We perform basic cluster structure characterization using nearest neighbor surface density mapping of the YSOs and compare our findings to other known clusters with equivalent analyses available in the literature.