AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 105 Triggered Star Formation and the Orion Protostellar Population
Poster, Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[105.05] Revealing spectacular, young and sequential star forming regions of the Trifid Nebula with Spitzer

J. Rho, W. T. Reach (SSC/CIT), B. Lefloch (LAOG, France), G. Fazio (CfA)

Spitzer IRAC and MIPS images of a young HII region, the Trifid Nebula (M20), reveal its spectacular appearance in infrared light, with recently formed massive protostars and numerous young stars illuminating the surrounding molecular clouds from which they formed and unveiling large scale filamentary dark clouds, which demonstrate a special evolutionary stage of HII regions. The hot dust grains show contrasting infrared colors in shells, arcs, bow-shocks and dark cores. Infrared emission is detected from the central O star complex, including the protoplanetary disks. Large populations of young stars including three dozen protostars (Classes I and 0) and over one hundred Class II pre-main sequence stars, are identified. The protostars are clustered along the filamentary dark lanes on western side of M20, which include the reflection nebula in the northern portion of the Trifid. Class II stars are distributed along the ionization front at the circular shape of HII regions. We suggest that the distribution of the protostars revealed by Spitzer is a result of sequential star formation triggered by the expansion of the young HII region of the Trifid Nebula along the filamentary dark clouds, where the massive stars tend to form in groups. The Spitzer images revealed clusters of protostars within the Class 0 objects, which were previously believed to be "starless" cores. These Spitzer images, with unprecedented sensitivity, now uncover the Class 0 protostars in infrared that are powering the SiO and CO outflows. Clusters of protostars are also detected from each of the continuum peaks TC3 and TC4, and some of these sources feature silicate absorption lines in their spectral energy distribution. The driving infrared source of a SiO outflow and submillimeter core TC1, near the exciting O star, is detected within a heated, infrared shell surrounding a dark, cold envelope. Lastly, the images also unveil three infrared sources lying along axis of the photoionized jet HH399 and inside the dust continuum source TC2. Based on their colors, two of these sources are molecular gas knots in the outflow, and the central source is the actual protostar driving HH399.

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© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.