We summarize the first results from the Gould Belt Survey, obtained toward the Aquila rift and Polaris Flare regions during the science demonstration phase of Herschel. Our 70-500 mu m images taken in parallel mode with the SPIRE and PACS cameras reveal a wealth of filamentary structure, as well as numerous dense cores embedded in the filaments. Between similar to 350 and 500 prestellar cores and similar to 45-60 Class 0 protostars can be identified in the Aquila field, while similar to 300 unbound starless cores and no protostars are observed in the Polaris field. The prestellar core mass function (CMF) derived for the Aquila region bears a strong resemblance to the stellar initial mass function (IMF), already confirming the close connection between the CMF and the IMF with much better statistics than earlier studies. Comparing and contrasting our Herschel results in Aquila and Polaris, we propose an observationally-driven scenario for core formation according to which complex networks of long, thin filaments form first within molecular clouds, and then the densest filaments fragment into a number of prestellar cores via gravitational instability.
- stars: formation circumstellar matter ISM: clouds ISM: structure submillimeter: ISM OPHIUCHI MOLECULAR CLOUD MASS FUNCTION INTERSTELLAR CLOUDS SCUBA SURVEY PROTOSTARS FRAGMENTATION EMISSION SPECTRA CLUSTER ORIGIN