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      A Compendium of Distances to Molecular Clouds in the Star Formation Handbook

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          Abstract

          Accurate distances to local molecular clouds are critical for understanding the star and planet formation process, yet distance measurements are often obtained inhomogeneously on a cloud-by-cloud basis. We have recently developed a method which combines stellar photometric data with Gaia DR2 parallax measurements in a Bayesian framework to infer the distances of nearby dust clouds to a typical accuracy of \(\sim5\%\). After refining the technique to target lower latitudes and incorporating deep optical data from DECam in the southern Galactic plane, we have derived a catalog of distances to molecular clouds in Reipurth (2008, Star Formation Handbook, vols I and II) which contains a large fraction of the molecular material in the solar neighborhood. Comparison with distances derived from maser parallax measurements towards the same clouds shows our method produces consistent distances with \(\lesssim10\%\) scatter for clouds across our entire distance spectrum (150 pc \(-\) 2.5 kpc). We hope this catalog of homogeneous distances will serve as a baseline for future work.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          02 January 2020
          Article
          2001.00591

          http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

          Custom metadata
          Accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics. Full catalog of distances available at https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/07L7YZ or the CDS
          astro-ph.GA

          Galaxy astrophysics

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