Photometric detections of dust circumstellar discs around pre-main sequence (PMS) stars, coupled with estimates of stellar ages, provide constraints on the time available for planet formation. Most previous studies on disc longevity, starting with Haisch, Lada & Lada, use star samples from PMS clusters but do not consider data sets with homogeneous photometric sensitivities and/or ages placed on a uniform time-scale. Here we conduct the largest study to date of the longevity of inner dust discs using X-ray and 1-8 μm infrared photometry from the MYStIX and SFiNCs projects for 69 young clusters in 32 nearby star-forming regions with ages t ≤ 5Myr. Cluster ages are derived by combining the empirical AgeJX method with PMS evolutionary models, which treat dynamo-generated magnetic fields in different ways. Leveraging X-ray data to identify disc-free objects, we impose similar stellar mass sensitivity limits for disc-bearing and disc-free young stellar objectswhile extending the analysis to stellar masses as low as M ~ 0.1 M⊙. We find that the disc longevity estimates are strongly affected by the choice of PMS evolutionarymodel. Assuming a disc fraction of 100 per cent at zero age, the inferred disc half-life changes significantly, from t1/2 ~ 1.3-2 Myr to t1/2 ~ 3.5 Myr when switching from non-magnetic to magnetic PMS models. In addition, we find no statistically significant evidence that disc fraction varies with stellar mass within the first few Myr of life for stars with masses < 2 M⊙, but our samples may not be complete for more massive stars. The effects of initial disc fraction and star-forming environment are also explored.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science