The giant pillars of the Carina Nebula

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Results are presented from a multi-wavelength study of the giant pillars within the Carina Nebula. Using near-IR data from 2MASS, mid-IR data from MSX, 843 MHz radio continuum maps from the MOST and molecular line and continuum observations from the SEST, we investigate the nature of the pillars and search for evidence of ongoing star formation within them. Photodissociation regions (PDRs) exist across the whole nebula and trace the giant pillars, as well as many ridges, filaments and condensations (A(v) > 7 mag). Morphological similarities between emission features at 21 mum and 843 MHz adjacent to the PDRs, suggests that the molecular material has been carved by the intense stellar winds and UV radiation from the nearby massive stars. In addition, star forming cores are found at the tips of several of the pillars. Using a stellar density distribution, several candidate embedded clusters are also found. One is clearly seen in the 2MASS images and is located within a dense core (G287.84-0.82). A search for massive young stellar objects and compact H II regions using mid-IR colour criteria, reveal twelve candidates across the complex. Grey-body fits to SEDs for four of these objects are suggestive of OB-stars. We find that massive star formation in the Carina Nebula is occurring across the whole complex and confirm it has been continuous over the past 3 Myrs.
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Rathborne, Jill
Brooks, Kate
Burton, Michael
Cohen, Milton
Bontemps, S
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Journal Article
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UNSW Faculty