The luminosities of protostars in the spitzer c2d and gould belt legacy clouds
Gutermuth, Robert A.
American Astronomical Society
© 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Motivated by the long-standing "luminosity problem" in low-mass star formation whereby protostars are underluminous compared to theoretical expectations, we identify 230 protostars in 18 molecular clouds observed by two Spitzer Space Telescope Legacy surveys of nearby star-forming regions. We compile complete spectral energy distributions, calculate L bol for each source, and study the protostellar luminosity distribution. This distribution extends over three orders of magnitude, from 0.01 L ȯ to 69 L ȯ, and has a mean and median of 4.3 L ȯ and 1.3 L ȯ, respectively. The distributions are very similar for Class 0 and Class I sources except for an excess of low luminosity (L bol ≲ 0.5 L) Class I sources compared to Class 0. 100 out of the 230 protostars (43%) lack any available data in the far-infrared and submillimeter (70 μm <λ < 850 μm) and have L bol underestimated by factors of 2.5 on average, and up to factors of 8-10 in extreme cases. Correcting these underestimates for each source individually once additional data becomes available will likely increase both the mean and median of the sample by 35%-40%. We discuss and compare our results to several recent theoretical studies of protostellar luminosities and show that our new results do not invalidate the conclusions of any of these studies. As these studies demonstrate that there is more than one plausible accretion scenario that can match observations, future attention is clearly needed. The better statistics provided by our increased data set should aid such future work. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..
National Science Foundation
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
Published version available online at the Astronomical Journal, Volume 145, Number 4, Article 94; doi: doi: 10.1088/0004-6256/145/4/94
Vol. 145, Article 94.