M Tapia, P Persi, C Román-Zúñiga, D Elia, F Giovannelli, L Sabau-Graziati. 2018. The star-forming cores in the centre of the Trifid nebula (M 20): from Herschel to the near-infrared. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 475, 3, 3029-3045 DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty048
A new detailed infrared (IR) study of eight star-forming dense condensations (TCs) in M 20, the Trifid nebula, is presented. The aim is to determine the physical properties of the dust in such globules and establish the presence and properties of their embedded protostellar and/or young stellar population. For this, we analysed new Herschel far-IR and Calar Alto near-IR images of the region, combined with Spitzer Infrared Array Camera (Spitzer/IRAC) archival observations. We confirm the presence of several young stellar objects (YSOs), most with mid-IR colours of Class II sources in all but one of the observed cores. Five TCs are dominated in the far-IR by Class I sources with bolometric luminosities between 100 and 500 L-circle dot. We report the discovery of a possible counterjet to HH 399 and its protostellar engine inside the photodissociation region TC2, as well as a bipolar outflow system, signposted by symmetric H-2 emission knots, embedded in TC3. The present results are compatible with previous suggestions that star formation has been active in the region for some 3 x 10(5) yr, and that the most recent events in some of these TCs may have been triggered by the expansion of the H II region. We also obtained a revised value for the distance to M 20 of 2.0 +/- 0.1 kpc.