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1 MPIFR - Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie 2 Departamento de Astronommia 3 MPIA - Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie 4 OAA - INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri 5 LAB - Laboratoire d-Astrophysique de Bordeaux Pessac 6 LAM - Laboratoire d-Astrophysique de Marseille 7 LAOG - Laboratoire d-Astrophysique de Grenoble 8 AIM - UMR 7158 - UMR E 9005 - Astrophysique Interactions Multi-échelles 9 Istituto Fisica Spazio Interplanetario 10 ESO 11 ESO - European Southern Observatory

Abstract : Abridged Studying continuum emission from interstellar dust is essential to locate and characterize the highest density regions in the interstellar medium. In particular, the early stages of massive star formation are still mysterious. Our goal is to produce a large scale, systematic database of massive pre- and proto-stellar clumps in the Galaxy, in order to better understand how and under what conditions star formation takes place. A well characterized sample of star-forming sites will deliver an evolutionary sequence and a mass function of high-mass star-forming clumps. Such a systematic survey at submm wavelengths also represents a pioneering work in preparation for Herschel and ALMA. The APEX telescope is ideally located to observe the inner Milky Way. The recently commissioned Large APEX Bolometer Camera LABOCA is a 295-element bolometer array observing at 870 microns, with a beam of 19-. Taking advantage of its large field of view 11.4- and excellent sensitivity, we have started an unbiased survey of the Galactic Plane, with a noise level of 50-70 mJy-beam: the APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy ATLASGAL. As a first step, we have covered 95 sq. deg. These data reveal 6000 compact sources brighter than 0.25 Jy, as well as extended structures, many of them filamentary. About two thirds of the compact sources have no bright infrared counterpart, and some of them are likely to correspond to the precursors of high-mass proto-stars or proto-clusters. Other compact sources harbor hot cores, compact HII regions or young embedded clusters. Assuming a typical distance of 5 kpc, most sources are clumps smaller than 1 pc with masses from a few 10 to a few 100 M sun. In this introductory paper, we show preliminary results from these ongoing observations, and discuss the perspectives of the survey.

Keywords : Astrophysics Galaxy Astrophysics

Autor: F. Schuller - K. M. Menten - Y. Contreras - F. Wyrowski - P. Schilke - L. Bronfman - T. Henning - C. M. Walmsley - H. Beuther - S



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