G11.92-0.61-MM2 : a bonafide massive prestellar core?
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Core accretion models of massive star formation require the existence of stable massive starless cores, but robust observational examples of such objects have proven elusive. We report subarcsecond-resolution Submillimeter Array (SMA) 1.3 mm, 1.1 mm, and 0.88 mm and Very Large Array 1.3 cm observations of an excellent massive starless core candidate, G11.92–0.61-MM2, initially identified in the course of studies of GLIMPSE Extended Green Objects (EGOs). Separated by ~7 farcs 2 from the nearby MM1 protostellar hot core, MM2 is a strong, compact dust continuum source (submillimeter spectral index α = 2.6 ± 0.1), but is devoid of star formation indicators. In contrast to MM1, MM2 has no masers, no centimeter continuum, and no (sub)millimeter wavelength line emission in ~24 GHz of bandwidth observed with the SMA, including N2H+(3-2), HCO+(3-2), and HCN(3-2). Additionally, there is no evidence for an outflow driven by MM2. The (sub)millimeter spectral energy distribution of MM2 is best fit with a dust temperature of ~17-19 K and luminosity of ~5-7 L☉. The combined physical properties of MM2, as inferred from its dust continuum emission, are extreme: M ≳ 30 M☉ within a radius <1000 AU, NH_2 >1025 cm–2 and nH_2 >109 cm–3. Comparison of the molecular abundance limits derived from our SMA observations with gas-grain chemical models indicates that extremely dense (n(H) ≫ 108 cm–3), cold (<20 K) conditions are required to explain the lack of observed (sub)millimeter line emission, consistent with the dust continuum results. Our data suggest that G11.92–0.61-MM2 is the best candidate for a bonafide massive prestellar core found to date, and a promising target for future higher-sensitivity observations.
Cyganowski , C J , Brogan , C L , Hunter , T R , Graninger , D , Öberg , K I , Vasyunin , A , Zhang , Q , Friesen , R & Schnee , S 2014 , ' G11.92-0.61-MM2 : a bonafide massive prestellar core? ' Astrophysical Journal Letters , vol 796 , no. 1 , L2 . DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/796/1/L2
Astrophysical Journal Letters
© 2014, The American Astronomical Society. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the final published version of the work, which was originally published at iopscience.iop.org / http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/2041-8205/796/1/L2
Supported by NSF AAPF (C.J.C., AST-1003134) and ERC (A.V., PALs 320620).
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