Astron. J., 118, 2409-2423 (1999/November-0)
A WIYN lithium survey for young stars in the λ Orionis star-forming region.
DOLAN C.J. and MATHIEU R.D.
Abstract (from CDS):
We have found 72 pre-main-sequence (PMS) stars near the center of the λ Orionis star-forming region by spectroscopically testing a magnitude-limited sample for the presence of lithium λ6708 absorption, a diagnostic of youth. All of these stars show large lithium equivalent widths and radial velocities consistent with Orion membership, but only two were discovered previously via Hα or X-ray surveys. Comparison with PMS evolutionary tracks show that the low-mass star formation did not begin prior to the initiation of high-mass star formation 5-7 Myr ago. However, the subsequent detailed star formation history is model dependent. Baraffe et al. isochrones imply that high- and low-mass stars began to form together 5-7 Myr ago, with the low-mass stellar formation ceasing abruptly 1 Myr ago. On the other hand, D'Antona & Mazzitelli isochrones indicate a narrow spread of PMS ages, which suggests a burst of low-mass star formation 1-2 Myr ago. Furthermore, kinematic arguments require that the parent molecular cloud gravitationally bound the stars together until recently, but at present the requisite gas mass is not visible. This leads us to conjecture that both the high- and low-mass stars were in a tightly bound cluster until a supernova blast about 1 Myr ago disrupted the parent cloud. This supernova also impacted on the PMS formation process by either (1) ceasing formation through removal of the gas supply or (2) triggering star births via cloud compression, depending on choice of stellar evolution models. Finally, we find that despite their youth, only four of the 72 PMS stars have T Tauri-like Hα emission, suggesting the absence of accretion disks. We conjecture that this may be the result of photoevaporation of the disks while the low-mass stars were in much closer proximity to the OB stars prior to becoming gravitationally unbound.
Stars: Formation - Stars: Pre-Main-Sequence
VizieR on-line data:
<Available at CDS (J/AJ/118/2409): table1.dat>
Table 1: [DM99] NN (Nos 1-72).
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