Publication archive

Publication archive

The ubiquity of filamentary structure at various scales throughout the Galaxy has triggered a renewed interest in their formation, evolution, and role in star formation. The largest filaments can reach up to Galactic scale as part of the spiral arm structure. However, such large-scale filaments are hard to identify systematically due to limitations in identifying methodology (i.e. as extinction features). We present a new approach to directly search for the largest, coldest, and densest filaments in the Galaxy, making use of sensitive Herschel Hi-GAL (Herschel Infrared Galactic Plane Survey) data complemented by spectral line cubes. We present a sample of the nine most prominent Herschel filaments, including six identified from a pilot search field plus three from outside the field. These filaments measure 37–99 pc long and 0.6–3.0 pc wide with masses (0.5–8.3) × 104 MSun, and beam-averaged (28 arcsec, or 0.4–0.7 pc) peak H2 column densities of (1.7–9.3)× 1022 cm−2. The bulk of the filaments are relatively cold (17–21 K), while some local clumps have a dust temperature up to 25–47 K. All the filaments are located within ≲60 pc from the Galactic mid-plane. Comparing the filaments to a recent spiral arm model incorporating the latest parallax measurements, we find that 7/9 of them reside within arms, but most are close to arm edges. These filaments are comparable in length to the Galactic scaleheight and therefore are not simply part of a grander turbulent cascade.
Published: 29 May 2015
Observations of molecular clouds reveal a complex structure, with gas and dust often arranged in filamentary, rather than spherical geometries. The association of pre- and proto-stellar cores with the filaments suggests a direct link with the process of star formation. Any study of the properties of such filaments requires representative samples from different environments for an unbiased detection method. We developed such an approach using the Hessian matrix of a surface-brightness distribution to identify filaments and determine their physical and morphological properties. After testing the method on simulated, but realistic, filaments, we apply the algorithms to column-density maps computed from Herschel observations of the Galactic plane obtained by the Hi-GAL project. We identified ~500 filaments, in the longitude range of l = 216.°5 to l = 225.°5, with lengths from ~1 pc up to ~30 pc and widths between 0.1 pc and 2.5 pc. Average column densities are between 1020 cm-2 and 1022 cm-2. Filaments include the majority of dense material with N_H_{2} > 6 × 1021 cm-2. We find that the pre- and proto-stellar compact sources already identified in the same region are mostly associated with filaments. However, surface densities in excess of the expected critical values for high-mass star formation are only found on the filaments, indicating that these structures are necessary to channel material into the clumps. Furthermore, we analyze the gravitational stability of filaments and discuss their relationship with star formation.
Published: 11 August 2014
We present the first Herschel PACS and SPIRE photometric observations in a portion of the outer Galaxy (216.°5 <~ l <~ 225.°5 and -2° <~ b <~ 0°) as a part of the Hi-GAL survey. The maps between 70 and 500 um, the derived column density and temperature maps, and the compact source catalog are presented. NANTEN CO(1-0) line observations are used to derive cloud kinematics and distances so that we can estimate distance-dependent physical parameters of the compact sources (cores and clumps) having a reliable spectral energy distribution that we separate into 255 proto-stellar and 688 starless sources. Both typologies are found in association with all the distance components observed in the field, up to ~5.8 kpc, testifying to the presence of star formation beyond the Perseus arm at these longitudes. Selecting the starless gravitationally bound sources, we identify 590 pre-stellar candidates. Several sources of both proto- and pre-stellar nature are found to exceed the minimum requirement for being compatible with massive star formation based on the mass-radius relation. For the pre-stellar sources belonging to the Local arm (d <~ 1.5 kpc) we study the mass function whose high-mass end shows a power law N(log M) ∝ M -1.0 ± 0.2. Finally, we use a luminosity versus mass diagram to infer the evolutionary status of the sources, finding that most of the proto-stellar sources are in the early accretion phase (with some cases compatible with a Class I stage), while for pre-stellar sources, in general, accretion has not yet started.
Published: 21 July 2013
Recent studies of the nearest star-forming clouds of the Galaxy at submillimeter wavelengths with the Herschel Space Observatory have provided us with unprecedented images of the initial and boundary conditions of the star-formation process. The Herschel results emphasize the role of interstellar filaments in the star-formation process and connect remarkably well with nearly a decade's worth of numerical simulations and theory that have consistently shown that the interstellar medium (ISM) should be highly filamentary on all scales, and star formation is intimately related to self-gravitating filaments. In this review, we trace how the apparent complexity of cloud structure and star formation is governed by relatively simple universal processes --- from filamentary clumps to galactic scales. We emphasize two crucial and complementary aspects: (1) the key observational results obtained with Herschel over the past three years, along with relevant new results obtained from the ground on the kinematics of interstellar structures; and (2) the key existing theoretical models and the many numerical simulations of interstellar cloud structure and star formation. We then synthesize a comprehensive physical picture that arises from the confrontation of these observations and simulations.
Published: 01 January 2014
We investigate the gas velocity dispersions of a sample of filaments recently detected as part of the Herschel Gould Belt Survey in the IC 5146, Aquila, and Polaris interstellar clouds. To measure these velocity dispersions, we use 13CO, C18O, and N2H+ line observations obtained with the IRAM 30 m telescope. Correlating our velocity dispersion measurements with the filament column densities derived from Herschel data, we show that interstellar filaments can be divided into two regimes: thermally subcritical filaments, which have transonic velocity dispersions (cs ≲ sigmatot < 2 cs) independent of column density and are gravitationally unbound; and thermally supercritical filaments, which have higher velocity dispersions scaling roughly as the square root of column density (tot ∝ Sigma00.5) and which are self-gravitating. The higher velocity dispersions of supercritical filaments may not directly arise from supersonic interstellar turbulence but may be driven by gravitational contraction/accretion. Based on our observational results, we propose an evolutionary scenario whereby supercritical filaments undergo gravitational contraction and increase in mass per unit length through accretion of background material, while remaining in rough virial balance. We further suggest that this accretion process allows supercritical filaments to keep their approximately constant inner widths (~0.1 pc) while contracting.
Published: 21 May 2013
We present first results from the Herschel Gould Belt survey for the B211/L1495 region in the Taurus molecular cloud. Thanks to their high sensitivity and dynamic range, the Herschel images reveal the structure of the dense, star-forming filament B211 with unprecedented detail, along with the presence of striations perpendicular to the filament and generally oriented along the magnetic field direction as traced by optical polarization vectors. Based on the column density and dust temperature maps derived from the Herschel data, we find that the radial density profile of the B211 filament approaches power-law behavior, rho ∝ r-2.0± 0.4, at large radii and that the temperature profile exhibits a marked drop at small radii. The observed density and temperature profiles of the B211 filament are in good agreement with a theoretical model of a cylindrical filament undergoing gravitational contraction with a polytropic equation of state: P ∝ rhogamma and T ∝ rhogamma-1, with gamma = 0.97 ± 0.01 < 1 (i.e., not strictly isothermal). The morphology of the column density map, where some of the perpendicular striations are apparently connected to the B211 filament, further suggests that the material may be accreting along the striations onto the main filament. The typical velocities expected for the infalling material in this picture are ~0.5-1 km s-1, which are consistent with the existing kinematical constraints from previous CO observations.
Published: 23 January 2013
We present Herschel survey maps of the L 1641 molecular clouds in Orion A. We extracted both the filaments and dense cores in the region. We identified which of the dense sources are proto- or pre-stellar, and studied their association with the identified filaments. We find that although most (71%) of the pre-stellar sources are located on filaments there, is still a significant fraction of sources not associated with such structures. We find that these two populations (on and off the identified filaments) have distinctly different mass distributions. The mass distribution of the sources on the filaments is found to peak at 4 MSun and drives the shape of the core mass function (CMF) at higher masses, which we fit with a power law of the form dN/dlogM ∝ M-1.4 ± 0.4. The mass distribution of the sources off the filaments, on the other hand, peaks at 0.8 MSun and leads to a flattening of the CMF at masses lower than ~4 MSun. We postulate that this difference between the mass distributions is due to the higher proportion of gas that is available in the filaments, rather than in the diffuse cloud.
Published: 10 November 2013
We present the first results from the science demonstration phase for the Hi-GAL survey, the Herschel key program that will map the inner Galactic plane of the Milky Way in 5 bands. We outline our data reduction strategy and present some science highlights on the two observed 2°×2° tiles approximately centered at l=30° and l=59°. The two regions are extremely rich in intense and highly structured extended emission which shows a widespread organization in filaments. Source SEDs can be built for hundreds of objects in the two fields, and physical parameters can be extracted, for a good fraction of them where the distance could be estimated. The compact sources (which we will call cores in the following) are found for the most part to be associated with the filaments, and the relationship to the local beam-averaged column density of the filament itself shows that a core seems to appear when a threshold around AV~1 is exceeded for the regions in the l=59° field; a AV value between 5 and 10 is found for the l=30° field, likely due to the relatively higher distances of the sources. This outlines an exciting scenario where diffuse clouds first collapse into filaments, which later fragment to cores where the column density has reached a critical level. In spite of core L/M ratios being well in excess of a few for many sources, we find core surface densities between 0.03 and 0.5 g cm-2. Our results are in good agreement with recent MHD numerical simulations of filaments forming from large-scale converging flows.
Published: 17 July 2010
We show for the first time, with direct, multispacecraft calculations of electric current density, and other methods, matched signatures of field-aligned currents (FACs) sampled simultaneously near the ionosphere at low (~500 km altitude) orbit and in the magnetosphere at medium (~2.5 RE altitude) orbits using a particular Swarm and Cluster conjunction. The Cluster signatures are interpreted and ordered through joint mapping of the ground/magnetospheric footprints and estimation of the auroral zone boundaries (taken as indication of the boundaries of Region 1 and Region 2 currents). We find clear evidence of both small-scale and large-scale FACs and clear matching of the behavior and structure of the large-scale currents at both Cluster and Swarm. The methodology is made possible through the joint operations of Cluster and Swarm, which contain, in the first several months of Swarm operations, a number of close three-spacecraft configurations.
Published: 29 May 2015
In this study, we apply a new method–the first-order Taylor expansion (FOTE)–to find magnetic nulls and reconstruct magnetic field topology, in order to use it with the data from the forthcoming MMS mission. We compare this method with the previously used Poincare index (PI), and find that they are generally consistent, except that the PI method can only find a null inside the spacecraft (SC) tetrahedron, while the FOTE method can find a null both inside and outside the tetrahedron and also deduce its drift velocity. In addition, the FOTE method can (1) avoid limitations of the PI method such as data resolution, instrument uncertainty (Bz offset), and SC separation; (2) identify 3-D null types (A, B, As, and Bs) and determine whether these types can degenerate into 2-D (X and O); (3) reconstruct the magnetic field topology. We quantitatively test the accuracy of FOTE in positioning magnetic nulls and reconstructing field topology by using the data from 3-D kinetic simulations. The influences of SC separation (0.05~1 di) and null-SC distance (0~1 di) on the accuracy are both considered. We find that (1) for an isolated null, the method is accurate when the SC separation is smaller than 1 di, and the null-SC distance is smaller than 0.25~0.5 di; (2) for a null pair, the accuracy is same as in the isolated-null situation, except at the separator line, where the field is nonlinear. We define a parameter ξ ≡ |( λ1 + λ2 + λ3 )|/|λ|max in terms of the eigenvalues (λi) of the null to quantify the quality of our method–the smaller this parameter the better the results. Comparing to the previously used parameter (η≡|∇ ⋅ B|/|∇ × B|), ξ is more relevant for null identification.
[Remainder of abstract truncated due to character limitations]
Published: 28 May 2015
Accepted for publication: 15 May 2015

Since OSIRIS started acquiring high-resolution observations of the surface of the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, over one hundred meter-sized bright spots have been identified in numerous types of geomorphologic regions, but mostly located in areas receiving low insolation. The bright spots are either clustered, in debris fields close to decameter-high cliffs, or isolated without structural relation to the surrounding terrain. They can be up to ten times brighter than the average surface of the comet at visible wavelengths and display a significantly bluer spectrum. They do not exhibit significant changes over a period of a few weeks. All these observations are consistent with exposure of water ice at the surface of boulders produced by dislocation of the weakly consolidated layers that cover large areas of the nucleus. Laboratory experiments show that under simulated comet surface conditions, analog samples acquire a vertical stratification with an uppermost porous mantle of refractory dust overlaying a layer of hard ice formed by recondensation or sintering under the insulating dust mantle. The evolution of the visible spectrophotometric properties of samples during sublimation is consistent with the contrasts of brightness and color seen at the surface of the nucleus. Clustered bright spots are formed by the collapse of overhangs that is triggered by mass wasting of deeper layers. Isolated spots might be the result of the emission of boulders at low velocity that are redepositioned in other regions.

Published: 16 May 2015
Accepted for publication: 12 May 2015

Context. Since August 2014, the OSIRIS Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) onboard the Rosetta spacecraft has acquired high spatial resolution images of the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, down to the decimeter scale. This paper focuses on the Imhotep region, located on the largest lobe of the nucleus, near the equator.
Aims. We map, inventory, and describe the geomorphology of the Imhotep region. We propose and discuss some processes to explain the formation and ongoing evolution of this region.
Methods. We used OSIRIS NAC images, gravitational heights and slopes, and digital terrain models to map and measure the morphologies of Imhotep.
Results. The Imhotep region presents a wide variety of terrains and morphologies: smooth and rocky terrains, bright areas, linear features, roundish features, and boulders. Gravity processes such as mass wasting and collapse play a significant role in the geomorphological evolution of this region. Cometary processes initiate erosion and are responsible for the formation of degassing conduits that are revealed by elevated roundish features on the surface. We also propose a scenario for the formation and evolution of the Imhotep region; this implies the presence of large primordial voids inside the nucleus, resulting from its formation process.

Published: 13 May 2015
Using images from the Hubble Space Telescope Wide-Field Camera 3, we measure the rate of diffusion of stars through the core of the globular cluster 47 Tucanae (47 Tuc) using a sample of young white dwarfs that were identified in these observations. This is the first direct measurement of diffusion due to gravitational relaxation. We find that the diffusion rate κ ~ 10-13 arcsec2 Myr-1 is consistent with theoretical estimates of the relaxation time in the core of 47 Tuc of about 70 Myr.
Published: 01 May 2015
Most present-day galaxies with stellar masses ≥1011 solar masses show no ongoing star formation and are dense spheroids. Ten billion years ago, similarly massive galaxies were typically forming stars at rates of hundreds solar masses per year. It is debated how star formation ceased, on which timescales, and how this "quenching" relates to the emergence of dense spheroids. We measured stellar mass and star-formation rate surface density distributions in star-forming galaxies at redshift 2.2 with ~1-kiloparsec resolution. We find that, in the most massive galaxies, star formation is quenched from the inside out, on time scales less than 1 billion years in the inner regions, up to a few billion years in the outer disks. These galaxies sustain high star-formation activity at large radii, while hosting fully grown and already quenched bulges in their cores.
Published: 18 April 2015
Planck has mapped the intensity and polarization of the sky at microwave frequencies with unprecedented sensitivity. We use these data to characterize the frequency dependence of dust emission. We make use of the Planck 353 GHz I, Q, and U Stokes maps as dust templates, and cross-correlate them with the Planck and WMAP data at 12 frequencies from 23 to 353 GHz, over circular patches with 10° radius. The cross-correlation analysis is performed for both intensity and polarization data in a consistent manner. The results are corrected for the chance correlation between the templates and the anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background. We use a mask that focuses our analysis on the diffuse interstellar medium at intermediate Galactic latitudes. We determine the spectral indices of dust emission in intensity and polarization between 100 and 353 GHz, for each sky patch. Both indices are found to be remarkably constant over the sky. The mean values, 1.59 ± 0.02 for polarization and 1.51 ± 0.01 for intensity, for a mean dust temperature of 19.6 K, are close, but significantly different (3.6σ). We determine the mean spectral energy distribution (SED) of the microwave emission, correlated with the 353 GHz dust templates, by averaging the results of the correlation over all sky patches. We find that the mean SED increases for decreasing frequencies at ν< 60 GHz for both intensity and polarization. The rise of the polarization SED towards low frequencies may be accounted for by a synchrotron component correlated with dust, with no need for any polarization of the anomalous microwave emission. We use a spectral model to separate the synchrotron and dust polarization and to characterize the spectral dependence of the dust polarization fraction. The polarization fraction (p) of the dust emission decreases by (21 ± 6)% from 353 to 70 GHz. We discuss this result within the context of existing dust models.
--- Remainder of abstract truncated due to character limitations ---
Published: 14 April 2015
The Planck survey provides unprecedented full-sky coverage of the submillimetre polarized emission from Galactic dust. In addition to the information on the direction of the Galactic magnetic field, this also brings new constraints on the properties of dust. The dust grains that emit the radiation seen by Planck in the submillimetre also extinguish and polarize starlight in the visible. Comparison of the polarization of the emission and of the interstellar polarization on selected lines of sight probed by stars provides unique new diagnostics of the emission and light scattering properties of dust, and therefore of the important dust model parameters, composition, size, and shape. Using ancillary catalogues of interstellar polarization and extinction of starlight, we obtain the degree of polarization, pV, and the optical depth in the V band to the star, τV. Toward these stars we measure the submillimetre polarized intensity, PS, and total intensity, IS, in the Planck 353 GHz channel. We compare the column density measure in the visible, E(B − V), with that inferred from the Planck product map of the submillimetre dust optical depth and compare the polarization direction (position angle) in the visible with that in the submillimetre. For those lines of sight through the diffuse interstellar medium with comparable values of the estimated column density and polarization directions close to orthogonal, we correlate properties in the submillimetre and visible to find two ratios, RS/V = (PS/IS) / (pVV) and RP/p = PS/pV, the latter focusing directly on the polarization properties of the aligned grain population alone.
--- Remainder of abstract truncated due to character limitations ---
Published: 14 April 2015
Polarized emission observed by Planck HFI at 353 GHz towards a sample of nearby fields is presented, focusing on the statistics of polarization fractions p and angles ψ. The polarization fractions and column densities in these nearby fields are representative of the range of values obtained over the whole sky. We find that: (i) the largest polarization fractions are reached in the most diffuse fields; (ii) the maximum polarization fraction pmax decreases with column density NH in the more opaque fields with NH>1021 cm-2; and (iii) the polarization fraction along a given line of sight is correlated with the local spatial coherence of the polarization angle. These observations are compared to polarized emission maps computed in simulations of anisotropic magnetohydrodynamical turbulence in which we assume a uniform intrinsic polarization fraction of the dust grains. We find that an estimate of this parameter may be recovered from the maximum polarization fraction pmax in diffuse regions where the magnetic field is ordered on large scales and perpendicular to the line of sight. This emphasizes the impact of anisotropies of the magnetic field on the emerging polarization signal. The decrease of the maximum polarization fraction with column density in nearby molecular clouds is well reproduced in the simulations, indicating that it is essentially due to the turbulent structure of the magnetic field: an accumulation of variously polarized structures along the line of sight leads to such an anti-correlation. In the simulations, polarization fractions are also found to anti-correlate with the angle dispersion function .
--- Remainder of abstract truncated due to character limitations ---
Published: 14 April 2015
We have used the Planck all-sky submillimetre and millimetre maps to search for rare sources distinguished by extreme brightness, a few hundred millijanskies, and their potential for being situated at high redshift. These "cold" Planck sources, selected using the High Frequency Instrument (HFI) directly from the maps and from the Planck Catalogue of Compact Sources (PCCS), all satisfy the criterion of having their rest-frame far-infrared peak redshifted to the frequency range 353–857 GHz. This colour-selection favours galaxies in the redshift range z = 2–4, which we consider as cold peaks in the cosmic infrared background. With a 4.5' beam at the four highest frequencies, our sample is expected to include overdensities of galaxies in groups or clusters, lensed galaxies, and chance line-of-sight projections. We perform a dedicated Herschel-SPIRE follow-up of 234 such Planck targets, finding a significant excess of red 350 and 500 μm sources, in comparison to reference SPIRE fields. About 94% of the SPIRE sources in the Planck fields are consistent with being overdensities of galaxies peaking at 350 μm, with 3% peaking at 500 μm, and none peaking at 250 μm. About 3% are candidate lensed systems, all 12 of which have secure spectroscopic confirmations, placing them at redshifts z > 2.2. Only four targets are Galactic cirrus, yielding a success rate in our search strategy for identifying extragalactic sources within the Planck beam of better than 98%. The galaxy verdensities are detected with high significance, half of the sample showing statistical significance above 10σ. The SPIRE photometric redshifts of galaxies in overdensities suggest a peak at z ≃ 2, assuming a single common dust temperature for the sources of Td = 35 K.
[Remainder of abstract truncated due to character limitations]
Published: 01 April 2015
We have used the Planck all-sky submillimetre and millimetre maps to search for rare sources distinguished by extreme brightness, a few hundred millijanskies, and their potential for being situated at high redshift. These "cold" Planck sources, selected using the High Frequency Instrument (HFI) directly from the maps and from the Planck Catalogue of Compact Sources (PCCS), all satisfy the criterion of having their rest-frame far-infrared peak redshifted to the frequency range 353–857 GHz. This colour-selection favours galaxies in the redshift range z = 2–4, which we consider as cold peaks in the cosmic infrared background. With a 4.5' beam at the four highest frequencies, our sample is expected to include overdensities of galaxies in groups or clusters, lensed galaxies, and chance line-of-sight projections. We perform a dedicated Herschel-SPIRE follow-up of 234 such Planck targets, finding a significant excess of red 350 and 500 μm sources, in comparison to reference SPIRE fields. About 94% of the SPIRE sources in the Planck fields are consistent with being overdensities of galaxies peaking at 350 μm, with 3% peaking at 500 μm, and none peaking at 250 μm. About 3% are candidate lensed systems, all 12 of which have secure spectroscopic confirmations, placing them at redshifts z > 2.2. Only four targets are Galactic cirrus, yielding a success rate in our search strategy for identifying extragalactic sources within the Planck beam of better than 98%. The galaxy verdensities are detected with high significance, half of the sample showing statistical significance above 10σ. The SPIRE photometric redshifts of galaxies in overdensities suggest a peak at z ≃ 2, assuming a single common dust temperature for the sources of Td = 35 K.
[Remainder of abstract truncated due to character limitations]
Published: 01 April 2015
Collisions between galaxy clusters provide a test of the nongravitational forces acting on dark matter. Dark matter's lack of deceleration in the "bullet cluster" collision constrained its self-interaction cross section σDM/m < 1.25 square centimeters per gram (cm2/g) [68% confidence limit (CL)] (σDM, self-interaction cross section; m, unit mass of dark matter) for long-ranged forces. Using the Chandra and Hubble Space Telescopes, we have now observed 72 collisions, including both major and minor mergers. Combining these measurements statistically, we detect the existence of dark mass at 7.6σ significance. The position of the dark mass has remained closely aligned within 5.8 ± 8.2 kiloparsecs of associated stars, implying a self-interaction cross section σDM/m < 0.47 cm2/g (95% CL) and disfavoring some proposed extensions to the standard model.
Published: 27 March 2015
23-Sep-2019 08:52 UT

ShortUrl Portlet

Shortcut URL

https://sci.esa.int/p/dAGeRrW