Context. Current theories and models attempt to explain star formation globally, from core scales to giant molecular cloud scales. A multi-scale observational characterisation of an entire molecular complex is necessary to constrain them. We investigate star formation in G202.3+2.5, a ̃10 × 3 pc sub-region of the Monoceros OB1 cloud with a complex morphology that harbours interconnected filamentary structures.
Aims: We aim to connect the evolution of cores and filaments in G202.3+2.5 with the global evolution of the cloud and to identify the engines of the cloud dynamics.
Methods: In this first paper, the star formation activity is evaluated by surveying the distributions of dense cores and protostars and their evolutionary state, as characterised using both infrared observations from the Herschel and WISE telescopes and molecular line observations with the IRAM 30 m telescope.
Results: We find ongoing star formation in the whole cloud, with a local peak in star formation activity around the centre of G202.3+2.5, where a chain of massive cores (10 - 50 M☉) forms a massive ridge (≳150 M☉). All evolutionary stages from starless cores to Class II protostars are found in G202.3+2.5, including a possibly starless and massive (52 M☉) core, which presents a high column density (8 × 1022 cm-2).
Conclusions: All the core-scale observables we examined point to an enhanced star formation activity that is centred on the junction between the three main branches of the ramified structure of G202.3+2.5. This suggests that the increased star formation activity results from the convergence of these branches. To further investigate the origin of this enhancement, it is now necessary to extend the analysis to larger scales in order to examine the relationship between cores, filaments, and their environment. We address these points through the analysis of the dynamics of G202.3+2.5 in a joint paper.