Probing the demography of core formation with Herschel surveys
CEA/Saclay - Service d'Astrophysique, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
The Herschel Space Observatory to be launched at the beginning of 2009
will provide a unique opportunity to improve our global understanding of
the early phase of star formation.
As prestellar cores and young protostars emit the bulk of their luminosity at
~ 80-400 microns, wide-field submillimeter continuum imaging of nearby molecular
cloud complexes with the SPIRE and PACS bolometer arrays on Herschel will be a
unique way of taking a complete census of these objects in the local Galactic
neighborhood (d < 3 kpc). |
I will present the objectives of two approved key projects: a) The Herschel survey of the Gould Belt, and b) the Herschel imaging survey of OB young stellar objects. Expected immediate outcomes include an accurate prestellar core mass function from the proto-brown-dwarf to the intermediate-mass regime, as well as large samples of dense cores and protostars with well characterized luminosities, temperatures, and masses up to the high-mass regime. Thanks to their high sensitivity and large spatial dynamic range, these Herschel surveys will also probe the genetic link between diffuse, low-density cloud structures and compact, self-gravitating dense cores, thereby providing insight into the core formation process.