Tracking the evolutionary stage of protostars through the abundances of astrophysical ices.
ROCHA W.R.M. and PILLING S.
Abstract (from CDS):
The physical evolution of young stellar objects (YSOs) is accompanied by an enrichment of the molecular complexity, mainly triggered by the heating and energetic processing of astrophysical ices. In this paper, a study of how the ice column density varies across the protostellar evolution has been performed. Tabulated data of H2O, CO2, CH3OH, and HCOOH observed by ground- and space-based telescopes toward 27 early-stage YSOs were taken from the literature. The observational data show that ice column density and spectral index (α), used to classify the evolutionary stage, are well correlated. A 2D continuum radiative transfer simulation containing bare and ice-covered grains at different levels of cosmic-ray processing were used to calculate the spectral energy distributions in different angle inclinations between face-on and edge-on configurations. The H2O:CO2 ice mixture was used to address the H2O and CO2 column density variation, whereas CH3OH and HCOOH are by-products of the virgin ice after energetic processing. The simulated spectra were used to calculate the ice column densities of YSOs in an evolutionary sequence. As a result, the models show that the ice column density variation of HCOOH with α can be justified by envelope dissipation and energetic processing of ice. On the other hand, the ice column densities are mostly overestimated in the cases of H2O, CO2 and CH3OH, even though the physical and cosmic-ray processing effects are taken into account.