Received idate? ; accepted idate? Abstract. We present a study of radial density structure of the star for ming globule, DCld303.8-14.2 (DC303), and a non-star forming globule, Thumbprint Nebula (TPN), using near-infrared data taken with the ISAAC instrument on the Very Large Telescope. We derive the extinction through the globules using the color excess technique and examine the radial density distribution using Bonnor-Ebert and power-law models. The two globules have significantly di fferent density structures. The extinction profile of DC303 is best fitted with a single power- law with an exponent p = 2.29± 0.08. An unstable Bonnor-Ebert model with a dimensionless parameterξmax = 23± 3 provides equally good fit to data. The extinction profile of T PN flattens at small radii, making the profile significantly di fferent from the profile of DC303. We are unable to fit the Bonnor- Ebert model for TPN in a robust manner, but derive the lower limitξmax& 8 for the dimensionless outer edge. The density profile deriv ed for TPN is typical compared to recently observed pre-protostellar globules, with highξmax value which could be interpreted as the presence of significant additional support or very slow c ontraction.

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