The Massive Young Star-Forming Complex Study in Infrared and X-rays (MYStIX) project provides a comparative study of 20 Galactic massive star-forming complexes (d = 0.4-3.6 kpc). Probable stellar members in each target complex are identified using X-ray and/or infrared data via two pathways: (1) X-ray detections of young/massive stars with coronal activity/strong winds or (2) infrared excess (IRE) selection of young stellar objects (YSOs) with circumstellar disks and/or protostellar envelopes. We present the methodology for the second pathway using Spitzer/IRAC, 2MASS, and UKIRT imaging and photometry. Although IRE selection of YSOs is well-trodden territory, MYStIX presents unique challenges. The target complexes range from relatively nearby clouds in uncrowded fields located toward the outer Galaxy (e.g., NGC 2264, the Flame Nebula) to more distant, massive complexes situated along complicated, inner Galaxy sightlines (e.g., NGC 6357, M17). We combine IR spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting with IR color cuts and spatial clustering analysis to identify IRE sources and isolate probable YSO members in each MYStIX target field from the myriad types of contaminating sources that can resemble YSOs: extragalactic sources, evolved stars, nebular knots, and even unassociated foreground/background YSOs. Applying our methodology consistently across 18 of the target complexes, we produce the MYStIX IRE Source (MIRES) Catalog comprising 20,719 sources, including 8686 probable stellar members of the MYStIX target complexes. We also classify the SEDs of 9365 IR counterparts to MYStIX X-ray sources to assist the first pathway, the identification of X-ray-detected stellar members. The MIRES Catalog provides a foundation for follow-up studies of diverse phenomena related to massive star cluster formation, including protostellar outflows, circumstellar disks, and sequential star formation triggered by massive star feedback processes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science