Protostars and Planets VI, Heidelberg, July 15-20, 2013
REVEALING THE EMBEDDED STRUCTURES AND SOURCES WITHIN GIANT HII REGIONS WITH SOFIA
De Buizer, James (SOFIA-USRA)
Compared to low mass star formation, relatively little is known about massive star formation. Furthermore, most studies concentrate on the processes of isolated star formation while little is known about clustered star formation, despite the fact that the vast majority of stars are formed within clusters. Giant HII regions harbor young OB clusters, and as such are fantastic laboratories for the study of massive star formation as well as clustered star formation. However, a large percentage of these GHII regions are optically obscured and far away, requiring them to be studied in the MIR/FIR with adequately high spatial resolution. SOFIA 24 and 37um imaging with approximately 3-arcsecond resolution is well-suited for revealing the embedded structures and sources within these regions. These SOFIA observations allow the comparison of the spatial distribution of the hot and warm dust within these GHII regions to the PAHs and hot ionized gas traced by other wavelengths. The observations also expose the population of massive stars in their earliest stages of formation within the GHII regions. A survey is underway to study GHII regions starting with SOFIA’s first observing cycle (which began June 2013), which upon completion will catalog all of the known bright GHII regions at the highest spatial resolutions yet achievable at IR wavelengths greater than 25um. In this presentation I highlight the expected results and science to be obtained by this survey, and show SOFIA observations already obtained of the Orion Nebula as a proof-of-concept.
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