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Characterizing interstellar filaments with Herschel in IC 5146

Characterizing interstellar filaments with Herschel in IC 5146

Publication date: 14 April 2011

Authors: Arzoumanian, D., et al.

Journal: A&A
Volume: 529
Page: L6
Year: 2011

Copyright: ESO

We provide a first look at the results of the Herschel Gould Belt survey toward the IC 5146 molecular cloud and present a preliminary analysis of the filamentary structure in this region. The column density map, derived from our 70-500 micron Herschel data, reveals a complex network of filaments and confirms that these filaments are the main birth sites of prestellar cores. We analyze the column density profiles of 27 filaments and show that the underlying radial density profiles fall off as r-1.5 to r-2.5 at large radii. Our main result is that the filaments seem to be characterized by a narrow distribution of widths with a median value of 0.10 ± 0.03 pc, which is in stark contrast to a much broader distribution of central Jeans lengths. This characteristic width of ~0.1 pc corresponds to within a factor of ~2 to the sonic scale below which interstellar turbulence becomes subsonic in diffuse gas, which supports the argument that the filaments may form as a result of the dissipation of large-scale turbulence.

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