May 19, 2015

ALMA Reveals Cradles of Dense Cores: the Birthplace of Massive Stars

A Taiwanese research team used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe a large molecular gas clump -- named G33.92+0.11 -- where a cluster of massive stars is forming.  ALMA revealed, in unprecedented detail, the fine structure of the molecular gas at the center of the region, where two surprisingly large molecular gas arms about 3 light-years across, appear to be spiraling around two massive molecular cores.

These results show that the large molecular arms are indeed the cradles of dense cores, which are current or future birthplaces of massive stars. These results represent a crucial step forward in the understanding of how mass distributes to form both massive cores and massive stars.

Details on this result can be found here.

model dataAn overview of a massive stellar cluster-forming molecular cloud from numerical hydrodynamical simulations (courtesy from James Dale), and the context of the scale of the ALMA observations for the deeply embedded central few light-years region. Credit: ALMA(ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), H. B. Liu, J. Dale.