Studying The Earliest Phase of Massive Star and Cluster Formation: Properties of Massive Starless Clump Candidates in the Milky Way

Yancy Shirley (Steward Observatory, University of Arizona)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2017-10-02 15:00 - 16:00
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 

Recent surveys of the dust continuum emission in the Milky Way Galaxy have revealed tens of thousands of cold, dense clumps with enough mass to form clusters of stars (some potentially massive stars) but no current evidence for star formation. These massive starless clump candidates represent the earliest phase of cluster formation. The typical starless clump candidate is ~1 pc in size, cold (Tk ~ 13 K), and with a mass of ~250 Msun. I shall present results from the 1.1mm Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey that characterize the physical properties of the massive starless clump candidates and compare those results to the properties of clumps in different evolutionary stages. I shall also present the results from ALMA and single-dish observations studying the fragmentation and mass flow within massive starless clump candidates. I will show just how very difficult it is to identify the earliest phase of massive star formation, the elusive >30 Msun starless core.

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