A Spitzer census of star formation activity in the Pipe Nebula.
FORBRICH J., LADA C.J., MUENCH A.A., ALVES J. and LOMBARDI M.
Abstract (from CDS):
The Pipe Nebula, a large nearby molecular cloud, lacks obvious signposts of star formation in all but one of more than 130 dust extinction cores that have been identified within it. In order to quantitatively determine the current level of star formation activity in the Pipe Nebula, we analyzed 13 deg2 of sensitive mid-infrared maps of the entire cloud, obtained with the Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer at wavelengths of 24 µm and 70 µm, to search for candidate young stellar objects (YSOs) in the high-extinction regions. We argue that our search is complete for class I and typical class II YSOs with luminosities of Lbol∼ 0.2 L☉ and greater. We find only 18 candidate YSOs in the high-extinction regions of the entire Pipe cloud. Twelve of these sources are previously known members of a small cluster associated with Barnard 59, the largest and most massive dense core in the cloud. With only six candidate class I and class II YSOs detected toward extinction cores outside of this cluster, our findings emphatically confirm the notion of an extremely low level of star formation activity in the Pipe Nebula. The resulting star formation efficiency for the entire cloud mass is only ∼0.06%.