Globules and pillars in Cygnus X. I. Herschel far-infrared imaging of the Cygnus OB2 environment

Schneider, N.; Bontemps, S.; Motte, F.; Blazere, A.; André, Ph.; Anderson, L. D.; Arzoumanian, D.; Comerón, F.; Didelon, P.; Di Francesco, J.; Duarte-Cabral, A.; Guarcello, M. G.; Hennemann, M.; Hill, T.; Könyves, V.; Marston, A.; Minier, V.; Rygl, K. L. J.; Röllig, M.; Roy, A.; Spinoglio, L.; Tremblin, P.; White, G. J. and Wright, N. J. (2016). Globules and pillars in Cygnus X. I. Herschel far-infrared imaging of the Cygnus OB2 environment. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 591, article no. A40.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201628328

Abstract

The radiative feedback of massive stars on molecular clouds creates pillars, globules and other features at the interface between the H II region and molecular cloud. Optical and near-infrared observations from the ground as well as with the Hubble or Spitzer satellites have revealed numerous examples of such cloud structures. We present here Herschel far-infrared observations between 70 μm and 500 μm of the immediate environment of the rich Cygnus OB2 association, performed within the Herschel imaging survey of OB Young Stellar objects (HOBYS) program. All of the observed irradiated structures were detected based on their appearance at 70 μm, and have been classified as pillars, globules, evaporating gasous globules (EGGs), proplyd-like objects, and condensations. From the 70 μm and 160 μm flux maps, we derive the local far-ultraviolet (FUV) field on the photon dominated surfaces. In parallel, we use a census of the O-stars to estimate the overall FUV-field, that is 103-104 G0 (Habing field) close to the central OB cluster (within 10 pc) and decreases down to a few tens G0, in a distance of 50 pc. From a spectral energy distribution (SED) fit to the four longest Herschel wavelengths, we determine column density and temperature maps and derive masses, volume densities and surface densities for these structures. We find that the morphological classification corresponds to distinct physical properties. Pillars and globules are massive (~500 M) and large (equivalent radius r ~ 0.6 pc) structures, corresponding to what is defined as "clumps" for molecular clouds. EGGs and proplyd-likeobjects are smaller (r ~ 0.1 and 0.2 pc) and less massive (~10 and ~30 M). Cloud condensations are small (~0.1 pc), have an average mass of 35 M, are dense (~6 × 104 cm-3), and can thus be described as molecular cloud "cores". All pillars and globules are oriented toward the Cyg OB2 association center and have the longest estimated photoevaporation lifetimes, a few million years, while all other features should survive less than a million years. These lifetimes are consistent with that found in simulations of turbulent, UV-illuminated clouds. We propose a tentative evolutionary scheme in which pillars can evolve into globules, which in turn then evolve into EGGs, condensations and proplyd-like objects.

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