Radial infall onto a massive molecular filament

Cara Battersby, Philip C. Myers, Yancy L. Shirley, Eric Keto, Helen Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The newly discovered Massive Molecular Filament (MMF) G32.02+0.05 (∼ 70 pc long, 105 M⊙) has been shaped and compressed by older generations of massive stars. The similarity of this filament in physical structure (density profile, temperature) to much smaller star-forming filaments, suggests that the mechanism to form such filaments may be a universal process. The densest portion of the filament, apparent as an Infrared Dark Cloud (IRDC) shows a range of massive star formation signatures throughout. We investigate the kinematics in this filament and find widespread inverse P cygni asymmetric line profiles. These line asymmetries are interpreted as a signature of large-scale radial collapse. Using line asymmetries observed with optically thick HCO+ (1-0) and optically thin H13CO+ (1-0) across a range of massive star forming regions in the filament, we estimate the global radial infall rate of the filament to range from a few 100 to a few 1000 M⊙ Myr-1 pc-1. At its current infall rate the densest portions of the cloud will more than double their current mass within a Myr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-713
Number of pages3
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Issue numberA29B
StatePublished - 2015


  • ISM: kinematics and dynamics
  • stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science


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