Appearance of Dusty Filaments at Different Viewing Angles

31 May 2016  ·  Chira R. -A. ESO, MPIA, Siebenmorgen R. ESO, Henning Th. MPIA, Kainulainen J. MPIA ·

Context: In the last years, there have been many studies on the omnipresence and structures of filaments in star-forming regions, as well as their role in the process of star formation. Those filaments are normally identified as elongated fibres across the plane of the sky... But how would we detect filaments that are inclined? Aims: We aim to learn more about whether, and how, total column density or dust temperature change with respect to the line of sight. Such variations would enable observers to use dust observations to identify and study filaments at any inclination and gain more insight on the distribution and orientations of filaments within the Galactic plane. Methods: As a first step, we perform numerical calculations on simple cylindrical models to evaluate the influence of filament geometry on the average flux density. After that, we apply our three-dimensional Monte Carlo dust radiative transfer code on two models of star-forming regions and derive maps of effective total column density and dust temperature at different viewing angles. Results: We see only slight changes of average flux density for all cylinders we study. For our more complex models, we find that the effective dust temperature is not sensitive to viewing angle, while the total column density is strongly influenced, with differences exceeding an order of magnitude. The variations are not injective with the viewing angle and depend on the structure of the object. Conclusions: We conclude that there is no single quantity in our analysis that can uniquely trace the inclination and three-dimensional structure of a filament based on dust observations alone. However, observing wide variations in total column density at a given effective dust temperature is indicative of inclined filaments. read more

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Astrophysics of Galaxies Solar and Stellar Astrophysics