Starless Clumps and the Earliest Phases of High-mass Star Formation in the Milky Way
AdvisorShirley, Yancy L.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 03/07/2019
AbstractHigh-mass stars are key to regulating the interstellar medium, star formation activity, and overall evolution of galaxies, but their formation remains an open problem in astrophysics. In order to understand the physical conditions during the earliest phases of high-mass star formation, I present observational studies of dense starless clump candidates (SCCs) that show no signatures of star formation activity. I identify 2223 SCCs from the 1.1 mm Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey, systematically analyze their physical properties, and show that the starless phase is not represented by a single timescale, but evolves more rapidly with increasing clump mass. To investigate the sub-structure in SCCs at high spatial resolution, I present an analysis of the 12 most high-mass SCCs within 5 kpc using Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array. I report previously undetected low-luminosity protostars in 11 out of 12 SCCs, fragmentation equal to the thermal Jeans length of the clump, and the discovery of two high-mass starless core candidates. While uncertainties remain concerning the star formation efficiency in this sample, these observational facts are consistent with models where high-mass stars form from initially low- to intermediate-mass protostars that accrete most of their mass from the surrounding clump.
Degree ProgramGraduate College