Journal Article

Discovery of large-scale gravitational infall in a massive protostellar cluster

Peter J. Barnes, Yoshinori Yonekura, Stuart D. Ryder, Andrew M. Hopkins, Yosuke Miyamoto, Naoko Furukawa and Yasuo Fukui

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 402, issue 1, pages 73-86
Published in print February 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Discovery of large-scale gravitational infall in a massive protostellar cluster

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We report Mopra Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF), Anglo-Australian Telescope and Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment observations of a molecular clump in Carina, BYF73 = G286.21+0.17, which give evidence of large-scale gravitational infall in the dense gas. From the millimetre and far-infrared data, the clump has a mass of ∼2 × 104 M, luminosity of ∼2–3 × 104 L and diameter of ∼0.9 pc. From radiative transfer modelling, we derive a mass infall rate of ∼3.4 × 10−2 M yr−1. If confirmed, this rate for gravitational infall in a molecular core or clump may be the highest yet seen. The near-infrared K-band imaging shows an adjacent compact H ii region and IR cluster surrounded by a shell-like photodissociation region showing H2 emission. At the molecular infall peak, the K imaging also reveals a deeply embedded group of stars with associated H2 emission. The combination of these features is very unusual, and we suggest that they indicate the ongoing formation of a massive star cluster. We discuss the implications of these data for competing theories of massive star formation.

Keywords: astrochemistry; stars: formation; ISM: kinematics and dynamics; ISM: molecules; infrared: ISM; radio lines: ISM

Journal Article.  11596 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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