Alyssa Goodman


Scientific Results from the COMPLETE Survey of Star-Forming Regions


and the COMPLETE Collaboration

In 2002, at a meeting in Santa Cruz, we marveled at the wide variety of star-forming regions that were being observed by a growing community of researchers, using a growing variety of techniques. But, we were dismayed to see that no large region had been observed in a coordinated systematic way, using all possible techniques. This lack of coordination made it hard to remove observational biases, and to inter-compare star-forming regions statistically. So, in concert with the (then) upcoming Spitzer Legacy projects (specifically c2d), we set out to make "COordinated Molecular Probe Line Extinction Thermal Emission" observations of three large nearby star-forming regions: Perseus, Ophiuchus and Serpens. And, we set as our goal (now met) putting all the data from the COMPLETE Survey online as it was taken (at In this talk, I will summarize the highlights of what has been learned so far from this coordinated systematic, open-access, approach. Highlights will include the following: 1) value of calibrating dust emission using extinction, including the significance of line-of-sight temperature variation; 2)  "Cloudshine"--scattered light from "dark" clouds; 3) GNICER--using galaxies as background sources to map extinction; 4) the "True" distribution of column density in star-forming regions, mass-size relations, and their meaning; 5) the role of gravity as a function of scale, and possible (mis)applications of the virial theorem; 6) COMPLETE "Taste-Testing" of (M)HD simulations; 7) methods to reveal outflows, both bipolar and spherical, in star-forming regions, and the new importance of spherical winds; 8) the relationship, or lack thereof, between core properties and stellar surface density; 9) direct mapping of a transition to "coherence" in dense cores; 10) fragmentation within coherent cores;  11) value of appropriate statistical analysis and visualization tools in analyzing very large data, high-dimensional, sets; and 12) the value of open access to large data sets. At the close of the talk, I will identify areas where new Herschel data can be used to answer key open questions, such as nature and cause of topological transitions from filamentary clouds to the rounder (gravitationally bound?) blobs that are the immediate pre-cursors of stars.