Cloud Structure of Three Galactic Infrared Dark Star-forming Regions from Combining Ground- and Space-based Bolometric Observations
Liu, Hauyu Baobab
Dale, James E.
Zhang, Zhi Yu
Chen, Huei Ru
We have modified the iterative procedure introduced by Lin et al., to systematically combine the submillimeter images taken from ground-based (e.g., CSO, JCMT, APEX) and space (e.g., Herschel, Planck) telescopes. We applied the updated procedure to observations of three well-studied Infrared Dark Clouds (IRDCs): G11.11-0.12, G14.225-0.506, and G28.34+0.06, and then performed single-component, modified blackbody fits to each pixel to derive ∼10″ resolution dust temperature and column density maps. The derived column density maps show that these three IRDCs exhibit complex filamentary structures embedded with rich clumps/cores. We compared the column density probability distribution functions (N-PDFs) and two-point correlation (2PT) functions of the column density field between these IRDCs with several OB-cluster-forming regions. Based on the observed correlation between the luminosity-to-mass ratio and the power-law index of the N-PDF, and complementary hydrodynamical simulations for a 104 molecular cloud, we hypothesize that cloud evolution can be better characterized by the evolution of the (column) density distribution function and the relative power of dense structures as a function of spatial scales, rather than merely based on the presence of star-forming activity. An important component of our approach is to provide a model-independent quantification of cloud evolution. Based on the small analyzed sample, we propose four evolutionary stages, namely, cloud integration, stellar assembly, cloud pre-dispersal, and dispersed cloud. The initial cloud integration stage and the final dispersed cloud stage may be distinguished from the two intermediate stages by a steeper than -4 power-law index of the N-PDF. The cloud integration stage and the subsequent stellar assembly stage are further distinguished from each other by the larger luminosity-to-mass ratio (>40 ) of the latter. A future large survey of molecular clouds with high angular resolution may establish more precise evolutionary tracks in the parameter space of N-PDF, 2PT function, and luminosity-to-mass ratio.