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Tim Kendall's Extreme Astrophysics

Earliest stages of star formation in Perseus

13 Nov 2016, 14:30 UTC
Earliest stages of star formation in Perseus
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Stardust in Perseus: image APOD, credit & copyright: Lynn Hilborn. The Perseus star-forming clouds contain objects which are candidates to be a first hydrostatic core (FHSC), first theorized by Larson (1969) and being the very first stage of star formation, consisting mostly of molecular hydrogen and intermediate in evolutionary status between dense molecular cores known as “starless” and “pre-stellar”. Its lifetime is short, less than 30,000 yr. The subject was treated by Scientific American in 2010, the year one such object was found, Per-Bolo 58 (see abstract below). The region is the subject of much ongoing work with new surveys at (sub)-mm and longer wavelengths: see new work by Storm et al. (2016) for a very recent example.

The first hydrostatic core (FHSC) represents a very early phase in the low-mass star formation process, after collapse of the parent core has begun but before a true protostar has formed. This large (few AU), cool (100 K), pressure-supported core of molecular hydrogen is expected from theory, but has yet to be observationally verified. Here, we present observations of an excellent candidate for the FHSC phase: Per-Bolo 58, a dense core in Perseus that was previously believed to be starless. The 70 ...

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