Transition from coherent cores to surrounding cloud in L1688

Spandan Choudhury, Jaime E. Pineda, Paola Caselli, Stella S.R. Offner, Erik Rosolowsky, Rachel K. Friesen, Elena Redaelli, Ana Chacón-Tanarro, Yancy Shirley, Anna Punanova, Helen Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Context. Stars form in cold dense cores showing subsonic velocity dispersions. The parental molecular clouds display higher temperatures and supersonic velocity dispersions. The transition from core to cloud has been observed in velocity dispersion, but temperature and abundance variations are unknown. Aims. We aim to measure the temperature and velocity dispersion across cores and ambient cloud in a single tracer to study the transition between the two regions. Methods. We use NH3 (1,1) and (2,2) maps in L1688 from the Green Bank Ammonia Survey, smoothed to 1′, and determine the physical properties by fitting the spectra. We identify the coherent cores and study the changes in temperature and velocity dispersion from the cores to the surrounding cloud. Results. We obtain a kinetic temperature map extending beyond dense cores and tracing the cloud, improving from previous maps tracing mostly the cores. The cloud is 4-6 K warmer than the cores, and shows a larger velocity dispersion (Δσv = 0.15-0.25 km s-1). Comparing to Herschel-based dust temperatures, we find that cores show kinetic temperatures that are ≈1.8 K lower than the dust temperature, while the gas temperature is higher than the dust temperature in the cloud. We find an average p-NH3 fractional abundance (with respect to H2) of (4.2 ± 0.2) × 10-9 towards the coherent cores, and (1.4 ± 0.1) × 10-9 outside the core boundaries. Using stacked spectra, we detect two components, one narrow and one broad, towards cores and their neighbourhoods. We find the turbulence in the narrow component to be correlated with the size of the structure (Pearson-r = 0.54). With these unresolved regional measurements, we obtain a turbulence-size relation of σv,NT ∝ r0.5, which is similar to previous findings using multiple tracers. Conclusions. We discover that the subsonic component extends up to 0.15 pc beyond the typical coherent boundaries, unveiling larger extents of the coherent cores and showing gradual transition to coherence over ∼0.2 pc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA114
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • ISM: individual objects: L1688
  • ISM: kinematics and dynamics
  • ISM: molecules
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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