Vol 13, No 6 (2013) / Li

Do protostellar fountains shape the regional core mass function?

Jin-Zeng Li, Claudio Carlos Mallamaci, Ricardo César Podestá, Eloy Actis Vicente, Ya-Fang Huang, Ana Maria Pacheco


The emerging massive binary system associated with AFGL 961 signifies the latest generation of massive star and cluster formation in the Rosette Molecular Complex. We present the detection of a compact cluster of dusty cores toward the AFGL 961 region based on continuum imaging at 1.3 mm by the Submillimeter Array. The binary components of AFGL 961 are associated with the most intensive millimeter emission cores or envelopes, confirming that they are indeed in an early stage of evolution. The other massive cores, however, are found to congregate in the close vicinity of the central high-mass protostellar binary. They have no apparent infrared counterparts and are, in particular, well aligned transverse to the bipolar molecular outflows originating from AFGL 961. This provides evidence for a likely triggered origin of the massive cores. All 40 individual cores with masses ranging between 0.6 and 15 M were detected above a 3 σ level of 3.6 mJy beam−1 (or 0.4 M), based on which we derive a total core mass of 107 M in the AFGL 961 region. As compared to the stellar initial mass function, a shallow slope of 1.8 is, however, derived from the best fit to the mass spectrum of the millimeter cores with a prestellar and/or protostellar origin. The flatter core mass distribution in the AFGL 961 region is attributed here to dynamic perturbations from the massive molecular outflows that originated from the massive protostellar binary, which may have altered the otherwise more quiescent conditions of core or star formation, enhanced the formation of more massive cores and, as a result, influenced the core mass distribution in its close vicinity.


stars: formation — stars: individual (AFGL 961) — stars: circumstellar matter — stars: mass function

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