White, Glenn J.; Casali, Mark M. and Eiroa, Carlos
High resolution molecular line observations of the Serpens Nebula.
Astronomy and Astrophysics, 298 pp. 594–605.
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The Serpens Molecular cloud is a nearby low/intermediate mass star forming region that is in the final stages of forming a densely packed cluster of stars. Spectra and high angular resolution maps of the CO, 13CO, C18O and C17O J=2-1 and CO J=4-3 transitions were obtained to study the distribution of molecular gas near the cluster. These are supplemented with data on the J=4-3 HCO+ line (to probe the denser gas), and 3P1 - 3P0 line of atomic carbon. The mass of the region is estimated to be ~1450Msun, implying that the star formation efficiency in the region to date has been ~2.5percent. Several molecular outflows are visible in the maps; some are associated with compact objects visible in millimetre and submillimetre wave continuum maps, as well as more widespread diffuse high velocity gas that extends over much of the nebula. The mass and energy of material in the high velocity gas are relatively small, ~0.3Msun and 3 x 1045 erg s-1, consistent with the characteristics of outflows seen towards low mass star-formation regions. The directions of the overlapping outflow lobes do not however show a clear alignment with the cloud's large scale magnetic field as has been reported towards some other regions. The gas temperatures in the central part of the molecular cloud are warmer (~30-40K) than typical for dark clouds, suggesting that the Serpens cluster has interacted with, and heated this gas. Estimates of the CO isotopomeric abundance ratios from these data may be strongly affected by opacity and radiative transfer effects. In a comparison of the LTE and LVG techniques, the disagreement between the derived column densities is discussed - with particular relevance to the higher rotational
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