Dense Cloud Cores


Dense cloud cores are condensations in star-forming molecular clouds. Their gas mass is typically a few stellar masses, and they are frequently observed to harbor protostars, the youngest known stars. They are widely believed to be the birth sites of stars, and their physical properties are believed to represent the "initial conditions" for star formation.

Dense cores are detected via the emission or absorption by their high column densities of dust and gas. Their dust grains absorb the emission of background starlight at optical and infrared wavelengths, and these same grains emit detectable thermal radiation at infrared, submillimeter and millimeter wavelengths. Cores harbor a wide variety of molecular species, many of which radiate in rotational lines at centimeter, millimeter, and submillimeter wavelengths. With sensitive observations of dense cores, it is possible to estimate core mass, density, temperature, chemical abundances, and to characterize their magnetic field strengths, turbulence, and internal motions.


Cara Battersby, Michael Dunham, Alyssa Goodman, Lars Kristensen, Charlie Lada, Phil Myers, Sven Van Loo

External Collaborators: Joao Alves, Paola Caselli, James Di Francesco (HIA), Jens Kauffmann, Elizabeth Lada, Chang Won Lee (KIA), Marco Lombardi, Jill Rathborne, Carlos Roman-Zuniga, Erik Rosolowsky, Mario Tafalla (OAN), Andrew Walsh (JCU), Jonathan Williams (IfA)

Ongoing Collaborators: Tyler Bourke, Jan Forbrich