The bolocam galactic plane survey. III. Characterizing physical properties of massive star-forming regions in the Gemini OB1 molecular cloud

Miranda K. Dunham, Erik Rosolowsky, Neal J. Evans, Claudia J. Cyganowski, James Aguirre, John Bally, Cara Battersby, Eric Todd Bradley, Darren Dowell, Meredith Drosback, Adam Ginsburg, Jason Glenn, Paul Harvey, Manuel Merello, Wayne Schlingman, Yancy L. Shirley, Guy S. Stringfellow, Josh Walawender, Jonathan P. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


We present the 1.1 mm Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey (BGPS) observations of the Gemini OB1 molecular cloud complex, and targeted NH3 observations of the BGPS sources. When paired with molecular spectroscopy of a dense gas tracer, millimeter observations yield physical properties such as masses, radii, mean densities, kinetic temperatures, and line widths. We detect 34 distinct BGPS sources above 5σ = 0.37 Jy beam-1 with corresponding 5σ detections in the NH3(1,1) transition. Eight of the objects show water maser emission (20%). We find a mean millimeter source FWHM of 1.12 pc and a mean gas kinetic temperature of 20K for the sample of 34 BGPS sources with detections in the NH3(1,1) line. The observed NH3 line widths are dominated by non-thermal motions, typically found to be a few times the thermal sound speed expected for the derived kinetic temperature. We calculate the mass for each source from the millimeter flux assuming the sources are isothermal and find a mean isothermal mass within a 120″ aperture of 230±180 M ·. We find a total mass of 8400 M · for all BGPS sources in the Gemini OB1 molecular cloud, representing 6.5% of the cloud mass. By comparing the millimeter isothermal mass to the virial mass calculated from the NH3 line widths within a radius equal to the millimeter source size, we find a mean virial parameter (M vir/M iso) of 1.0±0.9 for the sample. We find mean values for the distributions of column densities of 1.0 × 1022 cm-2 for H2, and 3.0 × 1014 cm -2 for NH3, giving a mean NH3 abundance of 3.0 × 10-8 relative to H2. We find volume-averaged densities on the order of 103-104cm-3. The sizes and densities suggest that in the Gem OB1 region the BGPS is detecting the clumps from which stellar clusters form, rather than smaller, higher density cores where single stars or small multiple systems form.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1157-1180
Number of pages24
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: individual objects (Gem OB1)
  • dust, extinction
  • radio lines: ISM
  • stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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