HP2 survey: III The California Molecular Cloud--A Sleeping Giant Revisited

26 Sep 2017  ·  Lada Charles J., Lewis John A., Lombardi Marco, Alves João ·

We present new high resolution and dynamic range dust column density and temperature maps of the California Molecular Cloud derived from a combination of Planck and Herschel dust-emission maps, and 2MASS NIR dust-extinction maps. We used these data to determine the ratio of the 2.2 micron extinction coefficient to the 850 micron opacity and found the value to be close to that found in similar studies of the Orion B and Perseus clouds but higher than that characterizing the Orion A cloud, indicating that variations in the fundamental optical properties of dust may exist between local clouds... We show that over a wide range of extinction, the column density probability distribution function (PDF$_N$) of the cloud can be well described by a simple power law with an index that represents a steeper decline with column density than found in similar studies of the Orion and Perseus clouds. Using only the protostellar population of the cloud and our extinction maps we investigate the Schmidt relation within the cloud. We show that the protostellar surface density, $\Sigma_*$, is directly proportional to the ratio of the protostellar and cloud pdfs. We use the cumulative distribution of protostars to infer the functional forms for both $\Sigma_*$ and PDF$_*$. We find that $\Sigma_*$ is best described by two power-law functions with steeper indicies than found in other local GMCs. We find that the protostellar pdf is a declining function of extinction also best described by two power-laws whose behavior mirrors that of $\Sigma_*$. Our observations suggest that variations both in the slope of the Schmidt relation and in the sizes of the protostellar populations between GMCs are largely driven by variations in the slope of the cloud pdf. This confirms earlier studies suggesting that cloud structure plays a major role in setting the global star formation rates in GMCs. read more

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Astrophysics of Galaxies