The Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) has given us the first completely unbiased sky-survey in the far-infrared with wavebands centered at 12, 25, 60 and 100 microns. The Taurus-Auriga complex was selected as the first molecular cloud to be investigated in this study. The Taurus clouds were defined as lying between 04h and 05h in R.A. and +16 to +31 degrees in Dec., then the IRAS point-source catalogue was searched for sources with good or moderate quality fluxes in all three of the shortest IRAS bands. The sources which were selected in this way were then classified into subgroups according to their IRAS colors. Taurus is generally believed to be an area of low-mass star formation, having no luminous O-B associations within or near to the cloud complex. Once field stars, galaxies and planetary nebulae had been removed from the sample only the molecular cloud cores, T Tauri stars and a few emission-line A and B stars remained. The great majority of these objects are pre-main sequence in nature and, as stated by Chester (1985), main sequence stars without excess far-infrared emission would only be seen in Taurus if their spectral types were earlier than about A5 and then not 25 microns. By choosing our sample in this way we are naturally selecting the hotter and thus more evolved sources. To counteract this, the molecular cloud core-criterion was applied to soruces with good or moderate quality flux at 25, 60 and 100 microns, increasing the core sample by about one third. The candidate protostar B335 is only detected by IRAS at 60 and 100 microns while Taurus is heavily contaminated by cirrus at 100 microns. This means that detection at 25 microns is also required with those at 60 and 100 microns to avoid confusing a ridge of cirrus with a genuine protostar. The far-infrared luminosity function of these sources is then calculated and converted to the visual band by a standard method to compare with the field star luminosity function of Miller and Scalo. The eventual aim of this work is to obtain far-infrared luminosity functions for a number of molecular clouds which are known to be forming low-mass stars and to investigate how the slope is affected by changes in the density and turbulence of material.
NASA. Ames Research Center Summer School on Interstellar Processes; Abstracts of Contributed Papers; p 1-2