The Per-Tau Shell: A Giant Star-Forming Spherical Shell Revealed by 3D Dust Observations

Shmuel Bialy, Catherine Zucker, Alyssa Goodman, Michael M. Foley, João Alves, Vadim A. Semenov, Robert Benjamin, Reimar Leike, Torsten Enßlin

A major question in the field of star formation is how molecular clouds

form out of the diffuse Interstellar Medium (ISM). Recent advances in 3D

dust mapping are revolutionizing our view of the structure of the ISM.

Using the highest-resolution 3D dust map to date, we explore the

structure of a nearby star-forming region, which includes the well-known

Perseus and Taurus molecular clouds. We reveal an extended

near-spherical shell, 156 pc in diameter, hereafter the "Per-Tau Shell",

in which the Perseus and Taurus clouds are embedded. We also find a

large ring structure at the location of Taurus, hereafter, the "Tau

Ring". We discuss a formation scenario for the Per-Tau Shell, in which

previous stellar and supernova (SN) feedback events formed a large

expanding shell, where the swept-up ISM has condensed to form both the

shell and the Perseus and Taurus molecular clouds within it. We present

auxiliary observations of HI, H$\alpha$, $^{26}$Al, and X-rays that

further support this scenario, and estimate Per-Tau Shell's age to be

$\approx 6-22$ Myrs. The Per-Tau shell offers the first

three-dimensional observational view of a phenomenon long-hypothesized

theoretically, molecular cloud formation and star formation triggered by

previous stellar and SN feedback.

Department of Astrophysics
The Astrophysical Journal
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
103004 Astrophysics
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