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2007AJ....133.1795G - Astron. J., 133, 1795-1809 (2007/April-0)

Globulettes as seeds of brown dwarfs and free-floating planetary-mass objects.


Abstract (from CDS):

Some H II regions surrounding young stellar clusters contain tiny dusty clouds, which on photos look like dark spots or teardrops against a background of nebular emission. From our collection of Hα images of 10 H II regions gathered at the Nordic Optical Telescope, we found 173 such clouds, which we call ``globulettes'', since they are much smaller than normal globules and form a distinct class of objects. Many globulettes are quite isolated and located far from the molecular shells and elephant trunks associated with the regions. Others are attached to the trunks (or shells), suggesting that globulettes may form as a consequence of erosion of these larger structures. None of our objects appear to contain stellar objects. The globulettes were measured for position, dimension, and orientation, and we find that most objects are smaller than 10 kAU. The Rosette Nebula and IC 1805 are particularly rich in globulettes, for which the size distributions peak at mean radii of ∼2.5 kAU, similar to what was found by Reipurth and coworkers and De Marco and coworkers for similar objects in other regions. We estimate total mass and density distributions for each object from extinction measures and conclude that a majority contain <13 MJ, corresponding to planetary-mass objects. We then estimate the internal thermal and potential energies and find, when also including the effects from the outer pressure, that a large fraction of the globulettes could be unstable and would contract on short timescales, <106 yr. In addition, the radiation pressure and ram pressure exerted on the side facing the clusters would stimulate contraction. Since the globulettes are not screened from stellar light by dust clouds farther in, one would expect photoevaporation to dissolve the objects. However, surprisingly few objects show bright rims or teardrop forms. We calculate the expected lifetimes against photoevaporation. These lifetimes scatter around 4x106 yr, much longer than estimated in previous studies and also much longer than the free-fall time. We conclude that a large number of our globulettes have time to form central low-mass objects long before the ionization front, driven by the impinging Lyman photons, has penetrated far into the globulette. Hence, the globulettes may be one source in the formation of brown dwarfs and free-floating planetary-mass objects in the galaxy.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): ISM: H II Regions - ISM: General - ISM: Globules - Planets and Satellites: General - Stars: Formation

VizieR on-line data: <Available at CDS (J/AJ/133/1795): table2.dat>

Nomenclature: Table 2: [GGF2007] NGC 7822 N (Nos 1-9), [GGF2007] IC 1805 NN (Nos 1-18), [GGF2007] Rosette Nebula NNN (Nos 1-145), [GGF2007] NGC 6820 N (No. 1).

Simbad objects: 196

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