AAS 198th Meeting, June 2001
Session 33. The Big Picture: Latest Science Results from 2MASS
Topical Session Oral, Tuesday, June 5, 2001, 9:00am-12:30pm, 2:00-5:30pm, C101-104

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[33.12] Near IR Extinction Associated with Infrared Dark Clouds

R.F. Shipman (SRON), W. Frieswyk (RuG), S.J. Carey (Boston College)

Both the Midcouse Experiment and the ISOGAL project observed isolated regions of extremely high extinction in the Galactic Plane. The nature of these objects, the Infrared Dark Clouds, is currently being investigated but is thought to be a very early stage in stellar formation. The IRDCs are seen as completely dark patches against the Galactic emission. Further investigations at submilimeter wavelengths, have shown that these clouds are cold (~ 15K) and dense (> 105 cm-3) regions.

Given their nature, The IRDCs must be well protected against the interstellar radiation field and therefore must exist within a larger ``parent" molecular cloud.

We report on our effort to use near IR extinction from the 2MASS stellar catalog to obtain an unbiased estimate of the properties of the parent molecular cloud, measure the nature of the envelope-core transition region as well as probe the extinction curve towards the more embedded lines of sight.

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