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Title: Star formation in the Gould Belt : a submillimetre perspective
Author: Mowat, Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 6346
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis presents my work characterising star formation in Gould Belt molecular clouds using submillimetre observations from SCUBA-2 on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT). I use these observations alongside data from previously published surveys using instruments including the Spitzer Space Telescope. I investigate the effect of including submillimetre data on the numbers, classifications and lifetimes of Young Stellar Objects (YSOs) in Gould Belt molecular clouds, particularly protostars. Following a literature review, I use SCUBA-2 450 and 850 μm observations to characterise star formation in the Lupus I molecular cloud. A total of eleven previously identified YSOs are detected with SCUBA-2, as well as eleven starless cores. Two cores have masses greater than the Jeans mass, and one has a virial parameter of 1.1 0.4, meaning these cores could be unstable against collapse. I use submillimetre emission to calculate disk masses, and find that one YSO has a disk mass greater than the minimum mass solar nebula. I find that Lupus I has a high percentage of both protostars and Very Low Luminosity Objects (VeLLOs). I also fit YSO Spectral Energy Distributions (SEDs) with models, allowing protostellar envelope masses and temperatures to be calculated, and interstellar extinction to be constrained for some YSOs. The signs of recent and future star formation support the hypothesis that a shock has triggered a star forming event in Lupus I. I also use SCUBA-2 data in conjunction with archival Spitzer and Herschel data to produce SEDs for five new candidate First Hydrostatic Cores (FHSCs) in Serpens South. These observations were then fit with models by the first author of this work, Alison Young. This work was able to identify two of the FHSC candidates as probable FHSCs, and constrain the rotation rate and inclination of one of them. I use JCMT Gould Belt Survey (GBS) observations of ten molecular clouds to produce an updated catalogue of protostars in these clouds. I use the FellWalker algorithm to find individual sources in the SCUBA-2 maps, and match them to the Spitzer YSO catalogue of Dunham et al. (2015). I use bolometric temperature to classify 362 out of 592 candidates as Class 0 or Class I protostars - a factor of two increase compared to the Spitzer catalogue due to improved submillimetre coverage. I find that protostellar lifetimes of 0.59 – 0.89 Myr - approximately 25 % longer than previously estimated. I also calculate protostellar luminosities, envelope masses, and envelope temperatures, and examine the distributions. Finally, I newly identify 19 protostars as VeLLOs, and increase the number of known VeLLOs in these clouds by a factor of two.
Supervisor: Hatchell, Jenny Sponsor: STFC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Star Formation ; Protostars ; Young Stellar Objects ; Gould Belt ; Spectral Energy Distributions ; Lifetimes ; Submillimetre