SIMBAD references

1998AJ....115.1524G - Astron. J., 115, 1524-1535 (1998/April-0)

From head to sword: the clustering properties of stars in Orion.


Abstract (from CDS):

We investigate the structure in the spatial distributions of optically selected samples of young stars in the Head (λ Orionis) and in the Sword (Orion A) regions of the constellation of Orion with the aid of stellar surface density maps and the two-point angular correlation function. The distributions of young stars in both regions are found to be nonrandom and highly clustered. Stellar surface density maps reveal three distinct clusters in the λ Ori region. The two-point correlation function displays significant features at angular scales that correspond to the radii and separations of the three clusters identified in the surface density maps. Most young stars in the λ Ori region (∼80%) are presently found within these three clusters, consistent with the idea that the majority of young stars in this region were formed in dense protostellar clusters that have significantly expanded since their formation. Over a scale of ∼0°.05-0°.5 the correlation function is well described by a single power law that increases smoothly with decreasing angular scale. This suggests that, within the clusters, the stars either are themselves hierarchically clustered or have a volume density distribution that falls steeply with radius. The relative lack of Hα emission-line stars in the one cluster in this region that contains OB stars suggests a timescale for emission-line activity of less than 4 Myr around late-type stars in the cluster and may indicate that the lifetimes of protoplanetary disks around young stellar objects are reduced in clusters containing O stars.

The spatial distribution of young stars in the Orion A region is considerably more complex. The angular correlation function of the OB stars (which are mostly foreground to the Orion A molecular cloud) is very similar to that of the Hα stars (which are located mostly within the molecular cloud) and significantly different from that of the young stars in the λ Ori region. This suggests that, although spatially separated, both populations in the Orion A region may have originated from a similar fragmentation process. Stellar surface density maps and modeling of the angular correlation function suggest that somewhat less than half of the OB and Hα stars in the Orion A cloud are presently within well-defined stellar clusters. Although all the OB stars could have originated in rich clusters, a significant fraction of the Hα stars appear to have formed outside such clusters in a more spatially dispersed manner. The close similarity of the angular correlation functions of the OB and Hα stars toward the molecular cloud, in conjunction with the earlier indications of a relatively high star formation rate and high gas pressure in this cloud, is consistent with the idea that older, foreground OB stars triggered the current episode of star formation in the Orion A cloud. One of the OB clusters (Upper Sword) that is foreground to the cloud does not appear to be associated with any of the clusterings of emission-line stars, again suggesting a timescale (<4 Myr) for emission-line activity and disk lifetimes around late-type stars born in OB clusters.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Galaxy: Open Clusters and Associations: Individual: Name: Orion A - Galaxy: Open Clusters and Associations: Individual: Name: λ Orionis

Errata: Erratum vol. 116, p. 1508

Simbad objects: 19

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