Identifying Primordial Substructure in NGC 2264

P.S. Teixeira, C.J. Lada, E.T. Young, M. Marengo, A. Muench, J. Muzerolle N. Siegler, G. Reike, L. Hartmann, S.T. Megeath, G. Fazio
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Steward Observatory

We present new Spitzer Space Telescope observations of the young cluster NGC 2264. Observations at 24 microns with the Multiband Imaging Photometer has enabled us to identify the most highly embedded and youngest objects in NGC 2264. This letter reports on one particular region of NGC 2264 where bright 24 microns sources are spatially configured in curious linear structures with quasi-uniform separations. The majority of these sources (~ 60%) are found to be protostellar in nature with Class I spectral energy distributions. Comparison of their spatial distribution with sub-millimeter data from Wolf-Chase et al. (2003) and millimeter data from Peretto et al. (2005) shows a close correlation between the dust filaments and the linear spatial configurations of the protostars, indicating that star formation is occurring primarily within dense dusty filaments. Finally, the quasi-uniform separations of the protostars are found to be comparable in magnitude to the expected Jeans length suggesting thermal fragmentation of the dense filamentary material.

Astrophysical Journal Letters 2005, in press


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