Current star formation in the ophiuchus and perseus molecular clouds: Constraints and comparisons from unbiased submillimeter and mid-infrared surveys. II

Jes K. Jørgensen, Doug Johnstone, Helen Kirk, Philip C. Myers, Lori E. Allen, Yancy L Shirley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

105 Scopus citations


We present a census of the population of deeply embedded young stellar objects (YSOs) in the Ophiuchus molecular cloud complex based on a combination of Spitzer Space Telescope mid-infrared data from the "Cores to Disks" (c2d) legacy team and JCMT/SCUBA submillimeter maps from the COMPLETE team. We have applied a method developed for identifying embedded protostars in Perseus to these data sets and in this way construct a relatively unbiased sample of 27 candidate embedded protostars with envelopes more massive than our sensitivity limit (about 0.1 M). As in Perseus, the mid-infrared sources are located close to the center of the SCUBA cores and the narrowness of the spatial distribution of mid-infrared sources around the peaks of the SCUBA cores suggests that no significant dispersion of the newly formed YSOs has occurred. Embedded YSOs are found in 35% of the SCUBA cores-fewer than in Perseus (58%). On the other hand the mid-infrared sources in Ophiuchus have less red midinfrared colors, possibly indicating that they are less embedded. We apply a nearest neighbor surface density algorithm to define the substructure in each of the clouds and calculate characteristic numbers for each subregion-including masses, star formation efficiencies, fraction of embedded sources, etc. Generally the main clusters in Ophiuchus and Perseus (L1688, NGC 1333, and IC 348) are found to have higher star formation efficiencies than small groups such as B1, L1455, and L1448, which on the other hand are completely dominated by deeply embedded protostars. We discuss possible explanations for the differences between the regions in Perseus and Ophiuchus, such as different evolutionary timescales for the YSOs or differences, e.g., in the accretion in the two clouds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)822-843
Number of pages22
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 20 2008



  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: evolution
  • ISM: individual (Ophiuchus, Perseus)
  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: pre-main-sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science

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