Star Formation in the Taurus-Auriga Dark Clouds

The Taurus-Auriga dark clouds are one of the nearest and best-studied regions of low mass star formation. The clouds contain many beautiful dark nebulae, astonishing Herbig-Haro jets and outflows, and enigmatic young stars. With few massive O ro B stars, the clouds are an excellent place to study the formation of low mass stars like the Sun.

In the mid-1980's, Lee Hartmann and I began to study the structure and stellar content of the clouds. In addition to identifying new young stars in the cloud, we used optical and infrared data to test models of accretion disks and boundary layers. Eventually, we realized that we could use the Taurus-Auriga clouds to test models of isolated star formation. This effort culminated in a statistical study of star formation in the clouds, Pre-Main-Sequence Evolution in the Taurus-Auriga Molecular Cloud published in 1995.

In the mid-2000's, Bo Reipurth invited astronomers to summarize star formation in nearby molecular clouds. The two volume Handbook of Star Forming Regions will include cogent reviews of cloud structure, pre-main sequence stars, and optical/molecular outflows in roughly sixty molecular clouds. Some of the reviews are on the arXiv preprint server.

The links below summarize aspects of our review on the Taurus-Auriga clouds. You can access the complete review, Low Mass Star Formation in the Taurus-Auriga Clouds (S. Kenyon, M. Gomez, and B. Whitney), by clicking on this link.

Some History
Cloud Structure
Pre-main Sequence Stars