Young star clusters in nearby molecular clouds

K. V. Getman, M. A. Kuhn, E. D. Feigelson, P. S. Broos, M. R. Bate, G. P. Garmire

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Abstract

The SFiNCs (Star Formation in Nearby Clouds) project is an X-ray/infrared study of the young stellar populations in 22 star-forming regions with distances ≲1 kpc designed to extend our earlier MYStIX (Massive Young Star-Forming Complex Study in Infrared and X-ray) survey of more distant clusters. Our central goal is to give empirical constraints on cluster formation mechanisms. Using parametric mixture models applied homogeneously to the catalogue of SFiNCs young stars, we identify 52 SFiNCs clusters and 19 unclustered stellar structures. The procedure gives cluster properties including location, population, morphology, association with molecular clouds, absorption, age (AgeJX), and infrared spectral energy distribution (SED) slope. Absorption, SED slope, and AgeJX are age indicators. SFiNCs clusters are examined individually, and collectively with MYStIX clusters, to give the following results. (1) SFiNCs is dominated by smaller, younger, and more heavily obscured clusters than MYStIX. (2) SFiNCs cloud-associated clusters have the high ellipticities aligned with their host molecular filaments indicating morphology inherited from their parental clouds. (3) The effect of cluster expansion is evident from the radius-age, radius-absorption, and radius-SED correlations. Core radii increase dramatically from ~0.08 to ~0.9 pc over the age range 1-3.5Myr. Inferred gas removal time-scales are longer than 1 Myr. (4) Rich, spatially distributed stellar populations are present in SFiNCs clouds representing early generations of star formation. An appendix compares the performance of the mixture models and non-parametric minimum spanning tree to identify clusters. This work is a foundation for future SFiNCs/MYStIX studies including disc longevity, age gradients, and dynamical modelling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-324
Number of pages27
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume477
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 11 2018

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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