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Serpens Cloud Core
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The 'Serpent' Star-forming Cloud Hatches New Stars

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Stars that are just beginning to coalesce out of cool swaths of dust and gas are showcased in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). Infrared light has been assigned colors we see with our eyes, revealing young stars in orange and yellow, and a central parcel of gas in blue. This area is hidden in visible-light views, but infrared light can travel through the dust, offering a peek inside the stellar hatchery.
The dark patch to the left of center is swaddled in so much dust, even the infrared light is blocked. It is within these dark wombs that stars are just beginning to take shape.

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Posts: 131433
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Serpens Molecular Cloud
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Title: The Serpens Molecular Cloud
Authors: C. Eiroa, A.A. Djupvik, M.M. Casali

The Serpens cloud has received considerable attention in the last years, in particular the small region known as the Serpens cloud core where a plethora of star formation related phenomena are found. This review summarizes our current observational knowledge of the cloud, with emphasis on the core. Recent results are converging to a distance for the cloud of ~ 230 20 pc, an issue which has been controversial over the years. We present the gas and dust properties of the cloud core and describe its structure and appearance at different wavelengths. The core contains a dense, very young, low mass stellar cluster with more than 300 objects in all evolutionary phases, from collapsing gaseous condensations to pre-main sequence stars. We describe the behaviour and spatial distribution of the different stellar populations (mm cores, Classes 0, I and II sources). The spatial concentration and the fraction number of Class 0/Class I/Class II sources is considerably larger in the Serpens core than in any other low mass star formation region, e.g. Taurus, Ophiuchus or Chamaeleon, as also stated in different works. Appropriate references for coordinates and fluxes of all Serpens objects are given. However, we provide for the first time a unified list of all near-IR sources which have up to now been identified as members of the Serpens core cluster; this list includes some members identified in this review. A cross-reference table of the near-IR objects with optical, mid-IR, submillimeter, radio continuum and X-ray sources is also provided. A simple analysis has allowed us to identify a sample of ~ 60 brown dwarf candidates among the 252 near-IR objects; some of them show near-IR excesses and, therefore, they constitute an attractive sample to study very young substellar objects.

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