Context. In the project galactic cold cores we are carrying out Herschel photometric observations of cold regions of the interstellar clouds as previously identified with the Planck satellite. The aim of the project is to derive the physical properties of the population of cold clumps and to study its connection to ongoing and future star formation.
Aims: We examine the cloud structure around the Planck detections in 71 fields observed with the Herschel SPIRE instrument by the summer of 2011. We wish to determine the general physical characteristics of the fields and to examine the morphology of the clouds where the cold high column density clumps are found.
Methods: Using the Herschel SPIRE data, we derive colour temperature and column density maps of the fields. Together with ancillary data, we examine the infrared spectral energy distributions of the main clumps. The clouds are categorised according to their large scale morphology. With the help of recently released WISE satellite data, we look for signs of enhanced mid-infrared scattering ("coreshine"), an indication of growth of the dust grains, and have a first look at the star formation activity associated with the cold clumps.
Results: The mapped clouds have distances ranging from ~100 pc to several kiloparsecs and cover a range of sizes and masses from cores of less than 10 M☉ to clouds with masses in excess of 10 000 M☉. Most fields contain some filamentary structures and in about half of the cases a filament or a few filaments dominate the morphology. In one case out of ten, the clouds show a cometary shape or have sharp boundaries indicative of compression by an external force. The width of the filaments is typically ~0.2-0.3 pc. However, there is significant variation from 0.1 pc to 1 pc and the estimates are sensitive to the methods used and the very definition of a filament. Enhanced mid-infrared scattering, coreshine, was detected in four clouds with six additional tentative detections. The cloud LDN 183 is included in our sample and remains the best example of this phenomenon. About half of the fields are associated with active star formation as indicated by the presence of mid-infrared point sources. The mid-infrared sources often coincide with structures whose sub-millimetre spectra are still dominated by the cold dust.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- May 2012
- ISM: clouds;
- infrared: ISM;
- submillimeter: ISM;
- stars: formation;
- stars: protostars;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- Accepted to A&