High-mass Starless Clumps in the Inner Galactic Plane: The Sample and Dust Properties

Jinghua Yuan, Yuefang Wu, Simon P. Ellingsen, Neal J.Evans Ii, Christian Henkel, Ke Wang, Hong Li Liu, Tie Liu, Jin Zeng Li, Annie Zavagno

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28 Citations (Scopus)


We report a sample of 463 high-mass starless clump (HMSC) candidates within -60° < l < 60° and -1° < b < 1°. This sample has been singled out from 10,861 ATLASGAL clumps. None of these sources are associated with any known star-forming activities collected in SIMBAD and young stellar objects identified using color-based criteria. We also make sure that the HMSC candidates have neither point sources at 24 and 70 μm nor strong extended emission at 24 μm. Most of the identified HMSCs are infrared dark, and some are even dark at 70 μm. Their distribution shows crowding in Galactic spiral arms and toward the Galactic center and some wellknown star-forming complexes. Many HMSCs are associated with large-scale filaments. Some basic parameters were attained from column density and dust temperature maps constructed via fitting far-infrared and submillimeter continuum data to modified blackbodies. The HMSC candidates have sizes, masses, and densities similar to clumps associated with Class II methanol masers and H II regions, suggesting that they will evolve into star-forming clumps. More than 90% of the HMSC candidates have densities above some proposed thresholds for forming highmass stars. With dust temperatures and luminosity-to-mass ratios significantly lower than that for star-forming sources, the HMSC candidates are externally heated and genuinely at very early stages of high-mass star formation. Twenty sources with equivalent radii req < 0.15 pc and mass surface densities σ > 0.08 g cm-2 could be possible high-mass starless cores. Further investigations toward these HMSCs would undoubtedly shed light on comprehensively understanding the birth of high-mass stars.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


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