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In order to characterise the cloud structures responsible for the formation of high-mass stars, we present Herschel observations of the DR21 environment. Maps of the column density and dust temperature unveil the structure of the DR21 ridge and several connected filaments. The ridge has column densities higher than 1023 cm-2 over a region of 2.3 pc2. It shows substructured column density profiles and branches into two major filaments in the north. The masses in the filaments range between 130 and 1400 M⊙, whereas the mass in the ridge is 15 000 M⊙. The accretion of these filaments onto the DR21 ridge, suggested by a previous molecular line study, could provide a continuous mass inflow to the ridge. In contrast to the striations seen in, e.g., the Taurus region, these filaments are gravitationally unstable and form cores and protostars. These coresformed in the filaments potentially fall into the ridge. Both inflow and collisions of cores could be important to drive the observed high-mass star formation. The evolutionary gradient of star formation running from DR21 in the south to the northern branching is traced by decreasing dust temperature. This evolution and the ridge structure can be explained by two main filamentary components of the ridge that merged first in the south.

Source Citation

Hennemann, M., Motte, F., Schneider, N., Anderson, L. D. (2012). The Spine Of The Swan: A Herschel Study Of The Dr21 Ridge And Filaments In Cygnus X. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 543, L3.



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