The molecular gas content of the Pipe Nebula. I: Direct evidence of outflow-generated turbulence in B59?

A. Duarte-Cabral, A. Chrysostomou, N. Peretto, G.A. Fuller, B. Matthews, G. Schieven, G.R. Davis

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Context. Star forming regions may share many characteristics, but the specific interplay between gravity, magnetic fields, large-scale dynamics, and protostellar feedback will have an impact on the star formation history of each region. The importance of feedback from outflows is a particular subject to debate, as we are yet to understand the details of their impact on clouds and star formation.
Aims. The Pipe Nebula is a nearby molecular cloud hosting the B59 region as its only active star-forming clump. This paper focuses on the global dynamics of B59, its temperature structure, and its outflowing gas, with the goal of revealing the local and global impact of the protostellar outflows.
Methods. Using HARP at the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, we have mapped the B59 region in the J = 3 → 2 transition of 12CO to study the kinematics and energetics of the outflows, and the same transitions of 13CO and C18O to study the overall dynamics of the ambient cloud, the physical properties of the gas, and the hierarchical structure of the region.
Results. The B59 region has a total of ~30 M⊙ of cold and quiescent material, mostly gravitationally bound, with narrow line widths throughout. Such low levels of turbulence in the non-star-forming regions within B59 are indicative of the intrinsic initial conditions of the cloud. On the other hand, close to the protostars the impact of the outflows is observed as a localised increase of both C18O line widths from ~0.3 km s-1 to ~1 km s-1, and 13CO excitation temperatures by ~2–3 K. The impact of the outflows is also evident in the low column density material which shows signs of being shaped by the outflow bow shocks as they pierce their way out of the cloud. Much of this structure is readily apparent in a dendrogram analysis of the cloud and demonstrates that when decomposing clouds using such techniques a careful interpretation of the results is needed.
Conclusions. The low mass of B59 together with its intrinsically quiescent gas and small number of protostars, allows the identification of specific regions where the outflows from the embedded sources interact the dense gas. Our study suggests that outflows are an important mechanism for injecting and sustaining supersonic turbulence at sub-parsec size scales. We find that less than half of the outflow energy is deposited as turbulent energy of the gas, however this turbulent energy is sufficient to slow down the collapse of the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA140
Number of pages16
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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