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The role of Galactic H II regions in the formation of filaments. High-resolution submilimeter imaging of RCW 120 with ArTéMiS

A. Zavagno, Ph. André, F. Schuller, N. Peretto, Y. Shimajiri, D. Arzoumanian, T. Csengeri, M. Figueira, G. Fuller, V. Könyves, A. Men'shchikov, P. M. Palmeirim, H. Roussel, D. Russeil, N. Schneider, S. Zhang

Context. Massive stars and their associated ionized (HII) regions could play a key role in the formation and evolution of filaments that host star formation. However, the properties of filaments that interact with HII regions are still poorly known.
Aims. To investigate the impact of HII regions on the formation of filaments, we imaged the Galactic HII region RCW 120 and its surroundings where active star formation takes place and where the role of ionization feedback on the star formation process has already been studied.
Methods. We used the large-format bolometer camera ArTéMiS on the APEX telescope and combined the high-resolution ArTéMiS data at 350 and 450 μm with Herschel-SPIRE/HOBYS data at 350 and 500 μm to ensure good sensitivity to a broad range of spatial scales. This allowed us to study the dense gas distribution around RCW 120 with a resolution of 8′′ or 0.05 pc at a distance of 1.34 kpc.
Results. Our study allows us to trace the median radial intensity profile of the dense shell of RCW 120. This profile is asymmetric, indicating a clear compression from the H II region on the inner part of the shell. The profile is observed to be similarly asymmetric on both lateral sides of the shell, indicating a homogeneous compression over the surface. On the contrary, the profile analysis of a radial filament associated with the shell, but located outside of it, reveals a symmetric profile, suggesting that the compression from the ionized region is limited to the dense shell. The mean intensity profile of the internal part of the shell is well fitted by a Plummer-like profile with a deconvolved Gaussian full width at half maximum of 0.09 pc, as observed for filaments in low-mass star-forming regions.
Conclusions. Using ArTéMiS data combined with Herschel-SPIRE data, we found evidence for compression from the inner part of the RCW 120 ionized region on the surrounding dense shell. This compression is accompanied with a significant (factor 5) increase of the local column density. This study suggests that compression exerted by HII regions may play a key role in the formation of filaments and may further act on their hosted star formation. ArTéMiS data also suggest that RCW 120 might be a 3D ring, rather than a spherical structure.

stars: formation; H II regions; ISM: individual objects: RCW 120; submillimeter: ISM; Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies; Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

This publication is based on data acquired with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) in Onsala program O-0100.F-9305. APEX is a collaboration between the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, the European Southern Observatory, and the Onsala Space Observatory.

Astronomy & Astrophysics
Volume 638, Article Number A7, Number of pages 8
2020 June

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia