Properties Of The Youngest Protostars In Perseus, Serpens, And Ophiuchus




Enoch, Melissa L.
Evans, Neal J.
Sargent, Anneila I.
Glenn, Jason

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We present an unbiased census of deeply embedded protostars in Perseus, Serpens, and Ophiuchus, assembled by combining large-scale 1.1 mm Bolocam continuum and Spitzer Legacy surveys. We identify protostellar candidates based on their mid-infrared (mid-IR) properties, correlate their positions with 1.1 mm core positions from Enoch et al. in 2006 and 2007, and Young et al. in 2006, and construct well-sampled spectral energy distributions using our extensive wavelength coverage (lambda = 1.25-1100 mu m). Source classification based on the bolometric temperature yields a total of 39 Class 0 and 89 Class I sources in the three-cloud sample. We compare to protostellar evolutionary models using the bolometric temperature-luminosity diagram, finding a population of low-luminosity Class I sources that are inconsistent with constant or monotonically decreasing mass accretion rates. This result argues strongly for episodic accretion during the Class I phase, with more than 50% of sources in a "sub-Shu" (dM/dt < 10(-6)M(circle dot) yr(-1)) accretion state. Average spectra are compared to protostellar radiative transfer models, which match the observed spectra fairly well in Stage 0, but predict too much near-IR and too little mid-IR flux in Stage I. Finally, the relative number of Class 0 and Class I sources is used to estimate the lifetime of the Class 0 phase; the three-cloud average yields a Class 0 lifetime of 1.7 +/- 0.3 x 10(5) yr, ruling out an extremely rapid early accretion phase. Correcting photometry for extinction results in a somewhat shorter lifetime (1.1 x 10(5) yr). In Ophiuchus, however, we find very few Class 0 sources (N(Class0)/N(Class I) similar to 0.1-0.2), similar to previous studies of that cloud. The observations suggest a consistent picture of nearly constant average accretion rate through the entire embedded phase, with accretion becoming episodic by at least the Class I stage, and possibly earlier.



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Enoch, Melissa L., Neal J. Evans II, Anneila I. Sargent, and Jason Glenn. "Properties of the youngest protostars in Perseus, Serpens, and Ophiuchus." The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 692, No. 2 (Feb., 2009): 973.