Spitzer and heinrich hertz telescope observations of starless cores: Masses and environments

Amelia M. Stutz, George H. Rieke, John H. Bieging, Zoltan Balog, Fabian Heitsch, Miju Kang, William L. Peters, Yancy L. Shirley, Michael W. Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


We present Spitzer observations of a sample of 12 starless cores selected to have prominent 24 μm shadows. The Spitzer images show 8 μm and 24 μm shadows and in some cases 70 μm shadows; these spatially resolved absorption features trace the densest regions of the cores. We have carried out a 12CO (2-1) and 13CO (2-1) mapping survey of these cores with the Heinrich Hertz Telescope (HHT). We use the shadow features to derive optical depth maps. We derive molecular masses for the cores and the surrounding environment; we find that the 24 μm shadow masses are always greater than or equal to the molecular masses derived in the same region, a discrepancy likely caused by CO freezeout onto dust grains. We combine this sample with two additional cores that we studied previously to bring the total sample to 14 cores. Using a simple Jeans mass criterion, we find that ∼ 2/3 of the cores selected to have prominent 24 μm shadows are collapsing or near collapse, a result that is supported by millimeter line observations. Of this subset at least half have indications of 70 μm shadows. All cores observed to produce absorption features at 70 μm are close to collapse. We conclude that 24 μm shadows, and even more so the 70 μm ones, are useful markers of cloud cores that are approaching collapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-166
Number of pages30
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Dust, extinction
  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: globules
  • ISM: molecules
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Spitzer and heinrich hertz telescope observations of starless cores: Masses and environments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this