A NIKA view of two star-forming infrared dark clouds: Dust emissivity variations and mass concentration

A. J. Rigby, N. Peretto, R. Adam, P. Ade, P. André, H. Aussel, A. Beelen, A. Benoît, A. Bracco, A. Bideaud, O. Bourrion, M. Calvo, A. Catalano, C. J.R. Clark, B. Comis, M. De Petris, F. X. Désert, S. Doyle, E. F.C. Driessen, J. GoupyC. Kramer, G. Lagache, S. Leclercq, J. F. Lestrade, J. F. Macías-Pérez, Philip Mauskopf, F. Mayet, A. Monfardini, E. Pascale, L. Perotto, G. Pisano, N. Ponthieu, V. Revéret, A. Ritacco, C. Romero, H. Roussel, F. Ruppin, K. Schuster, A. Sievers, S. Triqueneaux, C. Tucker, R. Zylka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Context. The thermal emission of dust grains is a powerful tool for probing cold, dense regions of molecular gas in the interstellar medium, and so constraining dust properties is key to obtaining accurate measurements of dust mass and temperature. Aims. By placing constraints on the dust emissivity spectral index, β, towards two star-forming infrared dark clouds - SDC18.888-0.476 and SDC24.489-0.689 - we aim to evaluate the role of mass concentration in the associated star-formation activity. Methods. We exploited the simultaneous 1.2 and 2.0 mm imaging capability of the NIKA camera on the IRAM 30 m telescope to construct maps of β for both clouds, and by incorporating Herschel observations, we created H2 column density maps with 13″ angular resolution. Results. While we find no significant systematic radial variations around the most massive clumps in either cloud on ≳ 0.1 pc scales, their mean β values are significantly different, with β = 2.07 ± 0.09 (random) ± 0.25 (systematic) for SDC18.888-0.476 and β = 1.71 ± 0.09 (random) ± 0.25 (systematic) for SDC24.489-0.689. These differences could be a consequence of the very different environments in which both clouds lie, and we suggest that the proximity of SDC18.888-0.476 to the W39 H II region may raise β on scales of ∼1 pc. We also find that the mass in SDC24.489-0.689 is more centrally concentrated and circularly symmetric than in SDC18.888-0.476, and is consistent with a scenario in which spherical globally-collapsing clouds concentrate a higher fraction of their mass into a single core than elongated clouds that will more easily fragment, distributing their mass into many cores. Conclusions. We demonstrate that β variations towards interstellar clouds can be robustly constrained with high signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) NIKA observations, providing more accurate estimates of their masses. The methods presented here will be applied to the Galactic Star Formation with NIKA2 (GASTON) guaranteed time large programme, extending our analysis to a statistically significant sample of star-forming clouds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA18
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Dust extinction
  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: structure
  • Stars: formation
  • Submillimeter: ISM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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  • NIKA view of two star-forming IRDCs

    Rigby, A. J. (Contributor), Peretto, N. (Creator), Adam, R. (Creator), Ade, P. (Creator), André, P. (Contributor), Aussel, H. (Creator), Beelen, A. (Creator), Benoît, A. (Contributor), Bracco, A. (Creator), Bideaud, A. (Creator), Bourrion, O. (Creator), Calvo, M. (Creator), Catalano, A. (Creator), Clark, C. J. R. (Contributor), Comis, B. (Creator), De Petris, P. M. (Creator), Désert, F. (Contributor), Doyle, S. (Creator), Driessen, E. F. C. (Contributor), Goupy, J. (Creator), Kramer, C. (Creator), Lagache, G. (Creator), Leclercq, S. (Creator), Lestrade, J. (Creator), Macías-Pérez, J. F. (Contributor), Mauskopf, P. (Creator), Mayet, F. (Creator), Monfardini, A. (Creator), Pascale, E. (Creator), Perotto, L. (Creator), Pisano, G. (Creator), Ponthieu, N. (Creator), Revéret, V. (Contributor), Ritacco, A. (Creator), Romero, C. (Creator), Roussel, H. (Creator), Ruppin, F. (Creator), Schuster, K. (Creator), Sievers, A. (Creator), Triqueneaux, S. (Creator), Tucker, C. (Creator), Zylka, R. (Creator), Adam, R. (Creator), Andre, P. (Creator), Benoit, A. (Creator), Calvo, M. (Creator), Catalano, A. (Creator), Doyle, S. (Creator), Kramer, C. (Creator), Lagache, G. (Creator), Ritacco, A. (Creator), Schuster, K. (Creator) & Sievers, A. (Creator), Strasbourg Astronomical Data Center, 2018


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