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Jes Jørgensenhttp://youngstars.nbi.dk/http://www.nbi.dk/~jeskjshapeimage_2_link_0

One of the open questions in star formation is how a dense molecular cloud core collapses and forms the first protostar in the cloud and, in particular, how material is accreted onto this star in its earliest stages of evolution. The recent discoveries of a group of Very Low Luminosity Objects (VeLLOs) of protostellar nature, suggest that these early stages may be characterised by an initial phase with very low accretion rates. The first VeLLO was detected by the Spitzer Space Telescope in a core earlier thought to be starless (Young, Jørgensen et al. 2004, ApJS, 154, 396). A VeLLO is defined to be a protostar embedded in a dense core with a luminosity less than 0.1 solar luminosities (Dunham et al. 2008, ApJS, 179, 249). Since the first detections, only a handful of VeLLOs have been studied in detail (e.g., Dunham et al 2010, ApJ, 721, 995).

In this project we will use multi-wavelength continuum and spectral line observations to study one of these VeLLOs in detail. In the project the student will use submillimeter images from the APEX telescope to study the physical structure including its luminosity, and other physical properties, like the core mass and the density distribution. The project will also include reductions and analysis of CO map data of the region, to study the outflow of molecular gas from the forming star, thus giving the possibility to obtain a lower limit of the age of the object. Depending on the interests of the student, this project can also include component of more detailed modeling of the source using detailed dust radiative transfer - or possible follow-up observations at APEX or similar.

The physical structure of a very low-luminosity protostar

Keywords: APEX submm observations; dust radiative transfer modeling