Herschel far-infrared photometric monitoring of protostars in the Orion Nebula Cluster.
BILLOT N., MORALES-CALDERON M., STAUFFER J.R., MEGEATH S.T. and WHITNEY B.
Abstract (from CDS):
We have obtained time series observations of the Orion Nebula Cluster at 70 µm and 160 µm from the Herschel/PACS Photometer. This represents the first wide-field far-infrared photometric monitoring of a young star-forming region. The acquired 35'x35' maps show complex extended structures, with unprecedented detail, that trace the interaction between the molecular gas and the young hot stars. We detect 43 protostars, most of which are situated along the integral-shaped filament extending from the Orion nebula, through OMC 2 and OMC 3. We present high-reliability light curves for some of these objects using the first six epochs of our observing program spread over 6 weeks. We find amplitude variations in excess of 20% for a fraction of the detected protostars over periods as short as a few weeks. This is inconsistent with the dynamical timescales of cool far-IR emitting material that orbits at hundreds of AU from the protostar, and it suggests that the mechanism(s) responsible for the observed variability originates from the inner region of the protostars, likely driven by variable mass accretion.